Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police response to repeat thefts criticised

Violet Farm Horticulture
Image caption Violet Farm Horticulture has been targeted several times by fuel thieves

Frustrated business owners have criticised police for a lack of action over repeat thefts and burglaries.

One firm in Somerset had fuel repeatedly stolen with no arrests made, despite a suspect being spotted.

A garage owner had £3,500 worth of tools stolen but claimed he was told that was not enough to warrant a probe.

Avon and Somerset Police said 3,306 commercial burglaries were reported last year and in some cases there were no lines of inquiry.

Glastonbury mechanics, AS Grenter and Son, was burgled in October with £3,500 worth of tools taken.

Owner John Grenter said no crime team was called in as it was "not a great enough amount so no-one would come out".

Alvin Neil, from Violet Farm Horticulture in Glastonbury, said: "Over the past 12 months we've had diesel stolen on eight different occasions from the peat fields down across the moor, two cameras and a battery totalling about £2,500."

'Worse and worse'

Mr Neil said that on one occasion a suspicious vehicle was spotted outside the business and reported, but questioned the police response.

"I don't see any end to it, it's got out of hand and the police have admitted that it is getting worse and worse," he said.

Avon and Somerset Police said that in the two cases officers had followed up lines of inquiry, while Mr Neil was offered crime prevention support and flagged as a repeat victim.

The force added: "Last year we had 3,306 reported commercial burglaries.

"In some cases it is established very quickly there are no lines of inquiry that will be of use to an investigation.

"This could mean there are no forensic opportunities, no witnesses, or no CCTV that captures the offence or provides evidential value."

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