Ludlow councillors seek action over burglary spree
Police are to meet town councillors following a spate of shop burglaries that has lasted months.
Crime in Ludlow town centre will be discussed at a meeting of the town council on Monday after three more burglaries led to business owners saying they no longer felt safe.
Many believe that small independent businesses are being deliberately targeted.
About a dozen shops, eateries and pubs have been broken into in recent months, with thieves entering through high-up or hidden windows or skylights, using crowbars to get in.
Once inside they look for cash, tearing open tills and even wrenching whole safes off walls as they did at Broad Bean delicatessen in July. There, as at other premises, they have even left behind ladders which turned out to be stolen as well.
This week Harp Lane Deli, Aragon's restaurant and Marie's haberdashery have all been hit.
Town councillor Timothy Gill, who is among those calling for officers to speak to the town council, said: "I have had this ongoing argument about policing in this town for some time.
"I am disappointed by the lack of progress that appears to have been made in putting a halt to the wave of burglaries.
"It would appear the police are playing catch-up all the time.
"There does seem to be a systematic attempt to target independent businesses and, given the current economic state, they need support in stopping this happening."
He said he believed thieves were capitalising on a lack of police presence in the town.
Henry Mackley of Harp Lane said: "I love Ludlow and it frightens me what is going on.
"I just wonder how long it has to go on or what it's going to take before the authorities decide it's serious enough to get more police on the streets."
In 2013 Leominster was made the "patrol base" for both north Herefordshire and south Shropshire, though Ludlow remains an operational station with its own safer neighbourhood team despite front counter services closing to the public last autumn.
In July Chief Constable David Shaw told Shropshire Council that the changes in 2013 may not have got things "completely right" and the force would consider a possible "redistribution of resources" back to Ludlow.
However Inspector Robert Thomas, of West Mercia Police, said officers did continue to patrol the town, and one arrest in connection with the burglaries had already been made.
He advised traders to put up signs stating that no money was left on premises overnight, leaving the till visibly empty, and lights on.
PC Steve Grant or PCSO Lucy Morris can be contacted by calling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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