Thieves steal £1400 of police property

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IF there’s one place you’d expect to be safe from crime, it’s the police station.

But cheeky thieves made off with the door bell from the front counter at a police station in West Lothian, it has been revealed.

Details of the theft were released as a result of a Freedom of Information Request to find out what goods had been stolen from Lothian and Borders Police over the past year.

The £10 bell was taken from the police station based in the Civic Centre in Livingston.

The old student favourite, the policeman’s hat, featured three times on the list of stolen items, with the three hats – one high visibility – worth a total of £41.70.

Other items of clothing stolen included a high visibility jacket worth £48.98, a waistcoat worth £22.95 and a black top worth £4.05.

Thieves even made off with the keys for a police vehicle, and in one case stole a cell key – though fortunately for police in the Lothians, the embarrassment rests with their colleagues at Jedburgh police station in the Borders, where a prisoner stole it.

The most expensive items stolen were two PDA notebooks, worth £450 each – though police were keen to point out that they were encrypted, so thieves would not be able to access the information on them.

Two sets of handcuffs and the glass of a police car wing mirror were also taken from the force, and it seems that even the police are not immune from the recent spate of metal thefts, with copper earthing cable reported stolen – though it was only valued at £1. In all, £1411.68-worth of items were stolen during the first 11 months of 2011.

Councillor Iain Whyte, who is convener of the Lothian and Borders Police Board, said the thefts from the force were relatively modest: “It’s a big organisation. In terms of its budget, it’s an organisation that spends £175 million a year so it’s a very small amount.

“However, as always, it reminds everyone within the force that they have to be vigilant about crime, whether that’s within the force or the crime they’re investigating on behalf of the public.”

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman added: “Lothian and Borders Police take all thefts seriously, regardless of where they take place, and anyone caught stealing will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

“The fact that items are stolen from police stations serves as a reminder that we can all be the victims of crime, and as such we would always urge the public to stay vigilant against thieves.”

Counting the cost

Copper earthing cable £1

PDA notebook x2 £900

Police hat x 2 £30.85

Handcuffs x 2 £33.00

Cell key (stolen by prisoner) £200.00

Medication/tablet (stolen by prisoner) £0

Police vehicle keys £100.00

Warrant card £0

Police black layer top £4.05

Key £0

Door bell for front counter £10.00

Police Vehicle wing mirror glass £50.00

Police high visibility jacket £48.98

Police high visibility waistcoat £22.95

Police high visibility hat £10.85

TOTAL £1411.68