Worksop ‘overlooked’ by police during wave of vandalism and break-ins, say businesses

The founder of a Worksop community group says the town is being ‘overlooked’ by police - as incidents of break-ins and vandalism rocket.

By Ben McVay
Monday, 20th April 2020, 6:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 12:32 pm

Roger Stocks, of Facebook group Worksop Independence, told how an alarming number of businesses had been targeted by burglars and ‘wanton’ vandals over the last couple of weeks.

Photos on the group’s page show shocking images of smashed windows at businesses like Poundstretcher - while video footage shows a criminal trying to pry doors open at Lock Gym & Fitness.

The gym owners posted how the masked man made five attempts to break in during one night between 1am and 5am.

Worksop Rugby Club has been targeted

There were also break-ins at Breakers Snooker Centre and the site of the old St Annes Vets.

Meanwhile Roger says gangs of youths have been spotted flouting Covid-19 lockdown rules by congregating at the Trader Clock.

Roger said: “This is a major issue - I’m getting a lot of concerns raised by local businesses who feel they’re being overlooked.

“They’re having a really bad time as it is - now they’re being hit by wanton vandalism and break-ins.

A smashed shop window in Worksop Town Centre

“It’s bad when you have pub owners feeling they have to stay in the premises at night to avoid break-ins.

“Bassetlaw constitutes nearly 15 per cent of the Notts population but I don’t feel we’re getting 15 per cent of police resources - it seems we’re throwing resources in and getting nothing back.”

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Social care manager Roger, 62, described police presence in the town as ‘hit and miss’ while many felt social distancing rules were not being enforced.

This burglar attempted to break into The Lock Gym & Fitness multiple times in one night

He said: “How the hell can we have burglars roaming the streets at 5am - where are the police?

“People say ‘why don’t they phone the police?’ but people are afraid to report anything due to repercussions.

“There’s a long list of properties and businesses that have been targeted - it’s damaging them to the point where they feel like throwing the towel in.

“We feel that the police presence is under-resourced for the size of the area and the town.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Bellamy said: "I'd like people to rest assured that Worksop is certainly not being overlooked during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have upped patrols and the town centre is policed 24-7 as a result of the force-wide Op Bion patrols – we are also benefiting from the uptake of specials and volunteers throughout Nottinghamshire."

“We do not have the full figures for April yet but while criminal damage appears to have fallen we have seen a slight increase in burglaries across Bassetlaw probably as a result of premises being unattended for long periods of time.

“A man has been charged and remanded for burglary in Worksop town centre and I have put in place both covert and visible operations running 24/7.”

Insp Neil Bellamy said there had been no change to the way regular policing was carried out and reported crimes had been followed-up and investigated as thoroughly as possible.

He said: "As a Neighbourhood Inspector I am regularly keeping an eye on any issues that may arise during the Covid-19 crisis and this is constantly assessed so that we can co-ordinate our resources accordingly.

"The majority of people are being respectful and sticking to the rules during lockdown but we are taking action where we have been informed of people flouting them.

“We are following the national guidance from the Home Office of engage, explain, encourage and enforce as a last resort and this has resulted in a number of groups being challenged and dispersed.”

“As we enter another period of lockdown we need to pull together as a community to fight this virus more than ever and ensure we can get back to normal as soon as we possibly can – so I'm urging everyone to stick to the rules, only leaving the house when absolutely necessary and following the social distancing rules.

“We will be keeping a close eye on flouting and as a force we are feeding into the Home Office on a regular basis - so if this increases and becomes more of an issue it will be looked into and more action will no doubt be taken.”

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