‘Scavenge’ theft on the increase

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HOMEOWNERS are being urged to be on the lookout for “scavenger” criminals who are touring the streets of South Holland in the daytime to search for valuable metal to steal and sell on for scrap.

Police are asking for people to report any suspicious vehicles they spot driving up and down their streets, after a spate of incidents with thieves targeting houses where they know there is metal such as copper or lead.

The warning comes after a story in our paper last week in which Spalding woman Fiona Miller spoke of her fright when she was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of would-be thieves trying to strip lead from the outside of her home in Double Street.

However, Sgt Stuart Brotherton of Spalding Police, says that the problem is not just centred on lead from church and house roofs – but all copper and metal that can be easily stolen.

He says he is aware of a recent case in Spalding where a man left his garage door open during the day, displaying copper piping he had inside and that night it was targeted by thieves.

Sgt Brotherton said: “This is pre-planned crime. They are quite clearly going around during the day, seeing what places there are where there might be items to steal and coming back when people are tucked up in bed. It’s scavenger crime.

“These people are driving around in pick-up trucks or transit vans seeing opportunities and we would ask people to be on the lookout for them.

“Don’t leave your garage door open for people to see and make sure things like side gates are locked and secure.

“If you have got metal that you don’t want and are waiting for the time to take it away, please get rid.”

Sgt Brotherton said properties that are being built or undergoing renovation are also at-risk if passers-by are able to see in as work goes on.

Anyone who spots suspicious activity should call Lincolnshire Police on 0300 1110300.