TWO men have been arrested after a cache of stolen boilers from homes across Preston was discovered in a garage.
The find was made after fed up housing chiefs at Community Gateway Housing Association (CGA) fitted trackers to boilers in several properties in a bid to thwart thieves, following a spate of boiler burglaries from houses in the Fulwood area in the last four months.
Officers in the city have received 32 separate complaints of boilers being stolen, or attempts made to steal them, since November.
Last Friday they got the hit they needed when a boiler fitted with one of the CGA devices was stolen and tracked down to a premises in Avenham.
Further raids were carried out and police found a stash of 14 boilers in a garage on New Hall Lane.
Boilers are currently highly lucrative business for thieves who cash them in at scrap dealers for their metal content, but the thefts have triggered concerns for residents’ safety.
Insp Kevin McLean of Preston Police said, “Not only is there the criminal aspect to this, but tampering with any sort of boiler is extremely dangerous and the offenders are not only putting themselves at risk, but other innocent people too.
“We are determined to put a stop to this and Gateway’s tracker initiative should help us to do this – the message to the people involved in this sort of activity is that we are on to you and we will trace the people responsible for these crimes.”
Martin Gibbons, mechanical and engineering manager at CGA, said: “At CGA we have utilised many methods, including Smart Water and stencilling to protect boilers and other high value items in our properties.”
Two men, aged 45 and 20, from Preston have been arrested in connection with the thefts and are on bail.
The raids came as Operation Julius, a month long operation aimed at preventing crime, targeting criminals and detecting burglaries, continues.