Our ‘politically correct’ police service is facing a difficult job in tackling the nationwide problem of metal theft as there appear to be few clues as to who may be responsible.
It’s a mystery!
Last week, the church at St Michaels, which dates back to 1549, had over £15,000 of metal stripped from its roof. There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts throughout East Lancashire and the public are being advised to buy special locks to make it more difficult for these callous thieves.
In all these cases, the police believe the offenders have used vans to haul away the valuable stolen metal. Coincidentally, there have been similar recent thefts reported in Norfolk, Essex, Macclesfield and Leicester. Again, vans have been used in the commission of the offences and intelligence indicates some of these thefts are linked and that an organised gang of travelling criminals may be responsible.
At the beginning of March, Lancashire police deployed over 150 officers as part of a national policing operation called Tornado to target metal thieves and businesses suspected of buying stolen metal. Worryingly, this spate of metal thefts in Lancashire occurred after this policing operation concluded, including the theft of cyanide-covered metal balls taken from an industrial unit in Poulton.
During my police service, I found an inordinate amount of metal theft was committed by offenders who drove around in vans and lived in caravans. I researched the issue of large-scale metal thefts nationally and noted there have been several prosecutions of criminal gangs for such offences. By complete surprise, these offenders tended to be related and were part of well-known criminal families, who drove around in vans and lived in caravans.
The church in the Prime Minister’s constituency has been targeted by metal thieves and the national railways regularly grind to a halt as a result of precious metal thefts from our rail tracks. The matter is so serious it was even raised during recent Prime Minister’s Questions.
So let me recap, intelligence indicates some of these mysterious thieves tend to drive throughout the country in vans and live in caravans. The ‘PC’ police appear to have no idea who these criminals could be, otherwise the public would be warned accordingly. Perhaps it’s criminal elements within the ‘Caravan Club’. If you have any suggestions, answers on a postcard to the Chief Constable of Lancashire!