Thieves target work vans
A spate of thefts from vehicles parked in Centre 27 has led police to warn drivers to be vigilant.
Work vans are frequently being targeted and power tools worth hundreds of pounds are being stolen.
Incidents have occurred in the car parks of several major stores including IKEA and Showcase Cinema.
Police say poor CCTV and low-lit areas are to blame.
Batley Neighbourhood Police officer Idress Khan said: “Thieves are targeting work vans especially because they know what they are getting – expensive tools.
“In one case we had a man from York who had more than £1,200 of biking goods taken from his van.
“Thieves stole his helmet, all his leathers and more. He lost everything.”
Earlier this month, four incidents of vehicle interference were recorded at Showcase during one day. In each incident, car door locks were damaged as thieves attempted to enter the vehicles.
PC Khan said: “We have approached many of the stores but at the end of the day they say it all comes down to budget.
“They could have security guards or better cameras operating during busy periods but they won’t.”
DW Sports customers have been targeted by thieves in the past but the store has improved their facilities.
General manager Matthew Sykes said: “We have increased our security and installed additional cameras in the car park.
“These people are opportunists and are always on the look out but we are doing as much as we can to prevent such issues.” Police say crime statistics in the Birstall Retail Park do not reflect those in other areas of Centre 27.
The area, which includes shopping branches Next and River Island, has had just one car related crime the last three years.
PC Khan believes this is due to the presence of the security office and CCTV footage.
Batley Neighbourhood Policing Team co-ordinator Martyn Lee said: “The large footfall and number of customer vehicles parked at Centre 27 will unfortunately attract some criminal activity.
“Motorists leaving items on view within their vehicles increase the likelihood of their vehicle being attacked.
“Police will always investigate such incidents, but evidence can sometimes be lacking due to certain parts of the car parks suffering from poor lighting or limited CCTV cover.
“Unfortunately, a small minority of customers are still being victimised by those travelling to the area to commit crime.”
Both IKEA and Showcase Cinema declined to comment.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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