Sat, 16 Mar 2019
AN alarming rise in theft from vehicles has prompted Hungerford Town Council to ask police for more information.
At a full meeting of the council on Monday last week, the Hungerford and Lambourn Valley neighbourhood police team produced a written report from Pc Paul Cole, that revealed there had been 19 instances of theft from vehicles in the past month.
The figures have been steadily rising.
For instance, in November and December, 2017, there were just eight recorded instances of theft from vehicles in both months.
In November last year that had risen to 14, and 15 for December.
The report stated that the current figure of 19 “includes a spike in isolated instances at both Membury Services and Combe Gibbet”.
It added: “This week is Rural Crime Week nationally and, as the local police team, we will be working with partner agencies, identified rural community spotters and other cross-border police to target rural crime with specifically-run operations.
“We will be looking to target the above numbers in theft from motor vehicles at beauty spots, services, etc.”
Town mayor Helen Simpson told the meeting: “It does seem quite high and it would be nice to know and to know how that differs from previous months.
“We need to question aspects of the report and will be asking for clarification.”
The report also revealed 12 reported incidents of assault during the past month, seven instances of criminal damage, six instances of shoplifting – all from Boots and the Co-op in Hungerford – and two non-dwelling burglaries.
The rise in theft from vehicles is a reminder of this time last year, when police tackled a sophisticated crime gang operating across borders, stealing tools from vans and other vehicles in the Hungerford area, as well as from Wiltshire towns and villages.
The thieves reportedly used multiple vehicles, lookouts and fake number plates to avoid increased police patrols and helicopter searches.
Pcso Lee Bremner, of the Hungerford and Lambourn Valley neighbourhood police team, said at the time: “They know what they’re doing – they’ve got someone looking out and there’s whistling noises going on.”
For a time the gang was able to evade helicopter searches and there were reports of number plates, possibly stolen and being used by the gang, having been found discarded in Hungerford.
Meanwhile, anyone with information about current vehicle crime should contact the neighbourhood team via the 101 number.
Alternatively, the independent Crimestoppers charity can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.