THIEVES stole metal front gates from nearly 30 homes during a single night of raids, making off undetected despite having to load their haul on to a truck.
At least 28 metal gates were stolen across Mayfield, Newtongrange, Pathhead and Easthouses in a 12-hour period from Sunday night. Another case was reported in Gorebridge on Saturday and police today said the final tally could be much higher.
Officers believe a van or truck was used to drive away with the heavy stolen gates but, so far, no-one has reported having seen or heard those responsible.
Lothian and Borders Police said it is just the latest in a series of thefts across the region as the price of scrap metal rises.
Council tenant Debbie McIntosh, 37, from Vogrie Road, Gorebridge, said: “My gate was stolen and two of my neighbours also had their gates stolen. Whoever is responsible has come prepared because they have cut through the wires and springs. The gates are very heavy. I’m surprised that I didn’t hear anything.
“Once the council replaces them, the thieves are just going to come back and take those.”
James Brown, 38, a warehouse manager from Pathhead, said his gates were stolen in the early hours of the morning.
He said: “I think it’s crazy that no-one has caught them in the act. Nobody seems to have heard anything.
“I’m sure there’s been at least ten or 12 that have been stolen in Pathhead, all in the one street.”
“It’s obviously been someone who doesn’t know the village because there are lots of back paths where there would be no chance of anyone hearing anything and the gates there have not been touched.”
Pc Angela Rowan, who is investigating the thefts, said: “The number of gates which have been stolen could be a lot higher as not everyone might have reported the crime to the police.
“We think somebody with a van or a flatbed lorry has been taking them. There’s a lot of metal theft going on in Midlothian at the moment – people have even had bronze statues stolen from their gardens.
“It’s strange that whoever is responsible has managed to do this without anybody noticing anything. Surely somebody would have heard a lorry being driven away?
“But hopefully we will find something out when we carry out our door-to-door inquiries.
“We have already visited a number of scrap metal dealers in the area to see if they have been approached.”
Anyone who saw a van or flatbed truck in these areas or saw anything suspicious has been asked to contact police immediately.
Police will be checking CCTV in the area and carrying out further inquiries to try and trace the culprits.
Open and shut cases
• Waverley Street, Mayfield
• Blackcot Avenue, Mayfield
• Bogwood Road, Mayfield
• Andrew Dodds Avenue, Mayfield
• Langlaw Road, Mayfield
• Fifth Street, Newtongrange
• Sixth Street, Netwongrange
• Ninth Street, Newtongrange
• Crichton Terrace, Pathhead
• Crichton Drive, Pathhead
• Leighton Crescent, Easthouses
• Broadhurst Road, Easthouses
• Gordon Street, Easthouses
• Vogrie Road, Gorebridge