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Revealed: £11 million cost of burglaries in Shropshire

By Tom Oakley | Crime | Published:

Burglaries have cost Shropshire more than £11 million since 2014, new figures reveal today.

Millions of pounds worth of valuables have been stolen in burglaries across the county in the past four years.

Figures for the period between January 2014 and October last year reveal the overall value of property stolen was £11,476,112.

Of that, almost £4.5 million of goods was stolen from Telford and more than £1.7 million from Shrewsbury.

The figures include property stolen, recovered or partially recovered in domestic and commercial burglaries and aggravated burglaries.

They were released after a Freedom of Information Act request to West Mercia Police.

The force today insisted it treated burglaries seriously and urged people to take steps to secure property.

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Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: "We recognise that being the victim of a burglary can be incredibly traumatic for those who experience it and preventing these offences from occurring is extremely important to us.

"We actively target those individuals who commit these offences by gathering intelligence opportunities and taking a proactive stance.

"We have patrol plans in place and we target patrols in areas where we have seen an increase, as well as continuing to work with our communities on crime prevention initiatives."

Area-by-area breakdown:

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  • Telford - £4,450,502 worth of property stolen
  • Shrewsbury - £1,735,035
  • Bridgnorth - £927,063
  • Shifnal - £811,417
  • Whitchurch - £663,627
  • Oswestry - £623,118
  • Ludlow - £622,263
  • Newport - £524,803
  • Market Drayton - £424,654
  • Church Stretton - £170,976
  • Craven Arms - £129,900)
  • Ellesmere - £117,084
  • Broseley - £114,461
  • Much Wenlock - £105,738
  • Bishop's Castle - £40,435
  • Bucknell - £30,305

West Mercia Police says it does not have values for items stolen from almost a third of the property burglaries since 2014.

It comes after West Mercia Police saw a 55 per cent increase in reports of domestic burglaries, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) last month.

However the ONS later explained that the significant increase was also down to a change in the way burglary statistics are recorded, meaning all burglaries that occur within the boundary of a resident’s property are now counted as a residential break-in.

Previously only burglaries within the actual home - and not in surrounding buildings - were classified as domestic burglaries.

Ms Blakeman added: "We would always encourage the public to help us by improving protection of their homes, letting us know who is committing crime and reporting suspicious activity.

"As can be seen from the figures provided high value items, such as cars, are sometimes targeted.

"We suggest using a door bell camera, internal camera or monitored burglar alarm, or installing ‘dusk to dawn’ external lighting and timer switches."

Arrest

Meanwhile, a man has been arrested who has been linked to several burglaries in the Morville area, near Bridgnorth.

In the early hours of Thursday, police received a call from a member of the public who reported a possible burglary at a nearby property.

Officers attended the scene and were at the scene in under ten minutes and found that a burglary had taken place, before following a white Vauxhall Combo Panel van, thought to involved in the incident.

The driver was arrested after the vehicle stopped after initially failing to do so and the stolen goods were recovered from van.

Later that day, two further burglaries were reported in the Morville area, which police claim are likely to be linked to the incident.

Pressure mounts on police

Burglars continue to pass through the courts of Shropshire, although investigating break-ins and bringing people to justice remains a challenge for police forces that are under pressure.

Priorities are, by necessity, having to change in a world in which much crime has gone online and under the strain put on police by the constant threat of indiscriminate terror.

That means the days of an instant response to a victim of burglary are in many cases a thing of the past.

The figures released today show that, through the measure of the value of property stolen, burglaries continue to be a constant challenge for law enforcers in our county.

It comes amid a picture of financial constraints that have led to West Mercia Police to look at how it patrols our streets.

The force earlier this month admitted it was taking some police officers out of police stations at certain times, but said it was part of a more flexible approach in which certain areas of investigation were being prioritised.

West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion insisted his budget proposals for the coming year outline that he is committed to retaining the number of police officers in the region.

Mr Campion insisted he is committed to protecting the number of Pcs and PCSOs, dismissing concerns from some officers of cuts.

He said: “It is purely and simply about making sure that there are more officers on shift, at the times when demand is highest. This is an operational decision, taken by the Chief Constable which I fully support.

“Our communities want policing resources focused where they matter most – on the frontline.

Across the border in Staffordshire, the force has declared that police officers will no longer attend ‘non-urgent’ crimes such as burglary as part of a shake-up.

From this summer, calls to Staffordshire Police’s 101 number will be diverted to a station in Stoke-on-Trent.

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Shropshire Star reporter responsible for the covering Telford and Bridgnorth and the surrounding areas. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@shropshirestar.co.uk or call 01952 241457.

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