Figures reveal thefts from police
Published 02/01/2012 | 03:57
You would have thought that the best place to keep goods safe from thieves would be in the hands of the police.
But handcuffs, uniforms, speed guns, dogs and even patrol cars have been stolen from police stations in the past five years.
The haul includes dozens of warrant cards, several bikes, riot shields, a red "door whammer" - a battering ram used by officers for breaking into houses - and breathalysers.
But it is not just police equipment that goes missing every year from stations up and down the country. Some of the more bizarre items stolen include a packet of six Sunblest crumpets worth 50p from Priory Road police station in Hull, a fern and green plastic pot taken from Lancashire Police, a small fridge from Dunstable police station and a copy of some CCTV footage and a television from West Oxfordshire.
Meanwhile, a £20 mannequin was stolen from Essex Police's kennels at Epping, a thief helped themselves to the £48 tea float from Pontefract police station in West Yorkshire and in West Mercia a 20-pack of toilet rolls vanished.
The catalogue of theft from police stations across Britain was revealed in a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association.
Equipment and personal belongings worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been stolen, according to the request to every police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The force with the highest value of goods stolen is Greater Manchester Police with £86,910. Other forces with high-value losses include Strathclyde with £22,524, Northumbria with £19,858, Essex with £15,406 and Surrey with £9,657.
The FOI request also reveals that many of the incidents were opportunist, with thieves taking advantage of property, such as police equipment, mobile phones or computers being left unattended.
Among the more high-value thefts is that of cars. In May 2008 in Morpeth, Northumberland, a £12,000 Northumbria Police patrol car was stolen. The thief took the vehicle, which was parked outside the station, and crashed it causing damage to two parked cars.
But many of the reported thefts were opportunist, with thieves taking small low-value items they could conceal easily. Coffee worth £2.50 was taken from Byker police station in Newcastle, a cap badge from an officer's hat was stolen at Widnes police station, a rubber stamp was taken from the inquiry desk of Stevenage police station and at Basildon police station someone nabbed a copy of Miller's Guide to Affordable Antiques, worth £5. And in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in October 2008 a thief stole an A to Z of the town worth £5.01 from inside a patrol car.