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Rail closure theory in spate of village shed break-ins

Posted on May 09 2012 at 9:34:10

Bicycles worth more than £2,500 were among property stolen from a number of sheds in Barnt Green and Alvechurch in raids residents link to the closure of the rail line for engineering work.

Police, are also linking the incidents, although they are not saying it was because the railway line was not operating.

The raids all happened between Sunday night (May 6) and Monday morning (May 7). The Cross-City line was close for much of the route between Redditch and New Street from Saturday to Monday.

One Alvechurch resident who contacted The Village said their shed and those of a number of their neighbours, all in gardens backing on to the railways line, had been broken into. Thieves had even put stolen property on the railway line, showing a disregard for safety.

Police are now advising people living in the area to ensure their sheds are as secure as possible.

The bicycles were all stolen from one shed in Sandhills Green, Alvechurch, and included a Cyclocross Genesis Vapour model in black with yellow tyres, which was worth £700; a Brompton folding bike worth £700; a Vio racer worth £700; a Specialized Hardrock model with back rack, worth £250; and a Trek Hybrid worth £200.

The thieves cut through a D lock chaining them together and also took a £50 bike torch.

Two sheds were entered at one property in Sandhills Lane. A drill and pressure washer were taken from one of them but were later recovered from where they hidden alongside the nearby railway line.

Some fireworks were also recovered after they were stolen from another shed in Sandhills Lane where several outbuildings including a summer hourse were entered.

Sheds at a third property in Sandhill Lane were targeted and although nothing was stolen £50 damage was caused in an unsuccessful attempt to lever door bolts.

PC Richard Spillane said: “One resident reporting that a shed had been broken into noticed a shovel on the other side of the boundary fence at 7am yesterday (Monday) but an hour later it had gone.

“It may be that the thieves had hidden property after stealing it and were returning to collect it at various times.

“We want to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in those areas, including any vehicles seen in unusual circumstances in Sandhills Green, Aqueduct Lane, by the railway station in Barnt Green or in Hewell Road.” 

PC Spillane said door to door enquiries had been carried out by officers and crime prevention advice was being given to residents.

He said: “Security can be improved by fitting good quality locks to sheds and battery operated alarms may act as a deterrent.
 
“Other advice includes installing dusk to dawn sensor controlled security lights, putting down gravel or stone chippings to make it more difficult for intruders to approach quietly, and defensive planting with prickly plants around garden perimeters.

“Marking valuable items with a forensic marking product is another deterrent that can be used against would-be thieves and will also help us to return property if it is stolen and later recovered.”

Further advice on home security and forensic marking products can be found on the West Mercia Police website at http://www.westmercia.police.uk/ under the Advice Centre section.

A garden crime leaflet called ‘Tips to Nip Garden Crime in the Bud’ is also available from police stations and garden centres in West Mercia, or can be downloaded from the force website.

Witnesses or anyone with information about the shed burglaries should call PC Spillane on 101, quoting incident reference 134-S-070512, or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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