Four Men Charged With Theft Of Lead From City Church

Four men have been charged by detectives in Stoke-on-Trent with the theft of lead -valued at £13,000 – following an incident at a city church last month.

The men were arrested in the vicinity of Stoke Minster Church, St Peter’s Close, in the early hours of April 19.

A fifth man failed to answer police bail and is now wanted by Staffordshire Police.

The four men, aged 17, 22, 23 and 23, are all from the Crewe area. They have been bailed to appear at North Staffordshire Magistrates Court, Fenton, on May 27.

DC Marc Heath, from Stoke-on-Trent CID, said, ‘Thanks to a call from a concerned member of the public about suspicious activity at the location, we attended and arrested five men. Four of those men have now been charged with the theft of lead. Our efforts to trace the fifth man will continue following his failure to answer bail. I would encourage members of the public concerned about any suspicious activity in the community they live in to contact Staffordshire Police.’

Staffordshire Police Can Be Contacted on 0300 123 44 55.

Police Rat Trap Secures 16 Arrests In Stoke-on-Trent

Over the past 6 weeks Staffordshire Police have been targeting those involved in the theft of motorbikes with a police “ËœRat Trap’. Detectives from the City’s proactive unit placed a motorbike in areas affected by this sort of crime and lay in wait until someone attempted to steal the very ordinary looking vehicle.

Motorbikes which were previously seized by police, and were facing destruction for being driven without insurance or other serious motoring offences were used. Using this approach the motorcycles were regularly changed to ensure the offenders never know which vehicle was being used as part of the rat trap.

Arrests were made in the Cobridge, Fegg Hayes, Tunstall, Fenton and Abbey Hulton areas of the city arresting people aged between 12 and 35. A number of those arrested and charged in connection with the theft of the rat trap are awaiting sentence.

Detective Inspector Jim Wood who leads the proactive team said ‘This operation has been extremely successful at tackling those involved in this sort of crime. We know that these stolen motorbikes are often involved in causing anti-social behaviour or involved in accidents. This week we have changed the vehicles we are using as part of this operation. My message to any person who may consider being involved in vehicle crime is that you can never be sure that you’re not about to be caught in our “ËœRat Trap’.’

Police Urge Home Owners To Step Up Garage & Shed Security

Home-owners are being asked to step up security on their sheds and garages following a number of break-ins in recent days.

Officers are now investigating a number of incidents at various locations across the city.

A number of sheds have been broken into in the Fenton area, and power tools stolen.

Offenders have also broken into a number of garden sheds in the Bucknall area, stealing various items from within.

The division’s crime reduction unit has a number of shed alarms available to members of the public. If you would like one please contact PC Neil Russell at Stoke police station on 0300 123 44 55.

Homeowners are asked to be on their guard against people selling stolen goods – such as power tools, gardening equipment and fishing tackle – at the door.

Anyone who is offered goods in suspicious circumstances is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 44 55 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Copper Thefts Putting Lives At Risk

Burglars are risking the lives of themselves and innocent members of the public by committing crime.

The warning has been issued by police in Stoke-on-Trent following an incident at an address in Scotia Road just after 8.30pm on Monday.

Officers from both Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the address to find that offenders had stolen and/or damaged copper piping within the property. This piping was carrying the gas supply. Fortunately the incident was made safe and the gas switched off and no further damage or injury was caused.

The immediate gas supply was quickly shut off and the property ventilated. No one was in the house at the time and neighbouring properties did not need to be evacuated.

Chief Inspector Peter Hall, from Stoke-on-Trent division said, ‘An investigation into this incident is now underway and my officers want to hear from anyone who saw suspicious persons and/or activity in Scotia Road last night. Fortunately the swift actions of the emergency services, together with gas experts, were able to avert any potential explosion. I believe that this was a foolish and inexperienced thief, not someone trying to cause extensive damage or injury by causing a gas leak. Unfortunately crimes of this type cause thousands of pounds of damage and provide the thief with little more than petty cash from the value of the scrap stolen. Cutting into any piping where mains services are connected is very dangerous and could lead to serious injury or loss of life. I would urge local people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to us, particularly where properties are known to be vacant. Staffordshire Police will continue to work hard to bring offenders to justice.’

Ian Sloss, Risk Reduction Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said ‘People who carry out this type of crime expose themselves and others to possible serious injury, or even worse. The ignition of gas which has been released, accidentally or otherwise, can cause fires which result in explosion. This endangers the life of the perpetrator, the general public and emergency services staff called to attend an incident.’

If anyone has any information on this incident they are urged to contact Staffordshire Police on: 0300 123 4455 quoting Crime reference number: 0802 of 11/01/10