Businesses are in outrage as a month-long 'crime wave' hits numerous traders in Mansfield Woodhouse
Plain clothes police officers have hit the streets in a bid to quash the ongoing spate of burglaries and attempted break-ins.
The under-cover officers have been dispatched as police claim said they believe the culprits to be the same group of people, one of whom they have 'identified'.
The stepping up of policing comes as we release shocking CCTV footage of a burglar, carefully chosiing bottles of alcohol and stealign a charity box.
The footage was taken from the Bowl in Hand pub after a burglar was seen three times at the pub - first 'scoping' out security, and eventually breaking in to steal alcohol and a charity box.
At a neighbourhood policing meeting with members of the Mansfield Woodhouse Community Development Group, Sergeant Neil Priestley of Nottinghamshire Police said: “We are confident we have been able to identify (one) individual and we have either made an arrest or will be making an arrest soon.”
He also described how CCTV footage, taken recently at burglaries at the Sea Queen Fisheries chip shop and the Bowl in Hand pub, as ‘vital evidence’ in the investigation.
Members were furious over the number of burglaries in the past few weeks, slamming the police’s lack of response as they take action weeks after the incidents, as well as issues over CCTV cameras being removed from the area by Mansfield District Council.
The Sid and Spoon, Bowl in Hand, Sea Queen’s, the Star Inn, a laminates store, vaping shop and other businesses have been hit - some on the same nights and claimed to be by the same burglars.
But police are investigating a wider areas around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in what they believe may be part of a larger crime spree.
Sarg. Priestley added: “It’s happening not just in Mansfield Woodhouse but all over Nottinghamshire and in Derbyshire as well. We’re finding a lot of business premises are being broken into over night.
“We’ve had incidents of till snatches from shops and a lot of times being stolen. We’re confident that the offenders are travelling criminals, moving around and not just working in one area.”
Staff at the Bowl in Hand were unaware as a burglar cased the bar, sneaked in while people were drinking and later broke in to steal bottles of spirits. CCTV footage shows the shocking incident unfold.
Owner, Martin Wilson, of the Leeming Street pub said: “We’ve all been targeted. I’m disgusted – livid. In our footage you can clearly see the burglar’s face. “On the third time he smashed the door and stole charity boxes and spirits. If we hadn’t have disturbed him he would have opened up the Bandit machines. It’s not just the cost of the items – we have to buy a new door and with all the damage it’s thousands of pounds, just for a few quid and five bottles of spirit.”
At another recent burglary at Sea Queen fisheries, owner Kyri Haelis said similarly that burglars visited on three occasions, seeming to show they are not afraid to make repeated attempts and often perform reconnaissance before breaking in.
Residents are also up in arms over the stripping of Mansfield Woodhouse’s CCTV coverage.
Over the course of 2014, the number of cameras operated by Mansfield District Council was reduced from 18 to 11 – leaving swathes of the town centre un-monitored.
The cameras re removed as a constant review process finds if they provide incident evidence on two few occasions they are deemed inviable.
But residents say it is the cameras which protects them, and which brings down the crime levels.
They make a call for more cameras, and more officers to prevent crime as a spate of burglars has hit numerous town centre business and trade vans in the past month.
Cherry Clarey, owner of the Sid and Spoon pub, said: “It stands to reason that crimes going down. The deterrent is the camera being there.”
County Councillor for Mansfield North, Parry Tsimbiridis said: “I don’t think you fulfill your obligations as a police authority to the 22,000 people in Woodhouse.
“I was a member of the police authority for 12 years and i remember different times when it wasn’t so hard for the police, fire, everything. I appreciate that. That’s why we need to revert that and fight the cuts. It can’t continue in Mansfield Woodhouse, we feel insecure. You’ve got to reconsider your position on how you’re policing Woodhouse.”
The officer tried to quell public complaints about police responses after a spate of burglaries.
He said: “A PCSO will visit all those crimes and an office will visit on most offences. We do try and revisit every single crime because we are aware of how upsetting they can be.”