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You're nicked; AMAZING LIST OF PROPERTY STOLEN FROM MIDLAND POLICE STATIONS.

Byline: BY BEN GOLDBY

CRAFTY crooks have embarked on the cheekiest crimewave of them all, stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment - ranging from a pounds 40,000 cop car to a fingerprint kit - from Midland POLICE stations.

They have walked out of cop shops with computers, satellite navigation gadgets, Uashing blue lights, uniforms - and even a crime prevention campaign banner designed to warn the public about opportunist thieves.

Shocking statistics released to the Sunday Mercury under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal how crooks have nicked everything from CS spray to cannabis from their local nick, sparking concern about security.

The Wgures cover thefts between April 2007 and April 2008 across the West Mercia, Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire forces. Separate stats from West Midlands Police paint a similar picture.

Last night, former West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent John Mellor said he was amazed.

"I find it truly astonishing that a police station, which is the centre of activity for law enforcement, should be in such an appalling state that it can be treated like this," he said.

"The local stations used to be like fortresses, and just getting through the door was a very difficult business.

"You were faced by a large Sergeant who wanted to know your name, and what you were doing there. Now there are doors swinging wide open at the back, and plenty of cameras with no-one watching.

"The public will rightly ask: 'How can the police protect us when they can't even look after what is going on in their own back yard?'"

bengoldby@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

HELMET; RANGE ROVER; CANNABIS; CS SPRAY; CASH; COP JACKET
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:274
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