On the morning of 25 April I arrived early in Reepham’s Market Place to take part in BBC Radio Norfolk’s live outside broadcast to discuss the routing of the offshore wind farm cables. The producer had told me I would be interviewed at 8.15 am and advised me to get there in good time.
So I strolled into the market square at 7.30 am, grabbed a coffee and thought I would go to Johnsons to get a paper.
As I approached I caught sight of the police cars and tape across the road and immediately saw the burning wreck of the teleporter and the smashed shop front. Like all of us, I assume, after the initial shock my reaction was to get very angry.
When asked for my comments by Radio Norfolk’s Nick Conrad I mentioned that as this had happened twice in six years I thought that we would want to talk to the police about how we could prevent this happening again.
To their credit the police immediately contacted me and we fixed up a meeting for 11 May. Myself, District Councillor Graham Everett and Reepham Town Council chairman Les Paterson had a very productive meeting with Sergeant Ed Watson, district engagement officer PC Rob Devlin and the new Reepham beat manager, PC Colin Bailey.
Left to right: Temporary Police Sergeant Ed Watson; Broadland District Councillor Graham Everett; Reepham Town Council chairman Les Paterson; Norfolk County Councillor Greg Peck; and Reepham Beat Manager PC Colin Bailey.
Sergeant Watson took us through the action the police had already taken and are continuing to take. He also explained the methods being deployed to stop organised crime gangs operating in the county. It was very impressive and I have no doubt they will find the culprits.
To reinforce my view, the previous ram raid took place in May 2012, the police made arrests in October 2012, and five individuals were eventually convicted of the crime and sent to prison.
In terms of preventing it happening again, we discussed various preventative measures, some of which may have some merit. However, it became clear that the best way to beat these organised crime gangs is through intelligence. In this respect the police have asked for the support of the public.
In particular they request we all remain vigilant and report anything suspicious. Prior to a ram raid the gang will steal various vehicles, number plates, crane straps (for lifting the ATM onto the getaway vehicle), etc.
Some of these on their own may seem insignificant; for example, prior to a previous ram raid, after the theft of a couple of lifting straps the owner didn’t bother to report the crime to the police. The straps were later found at the crime scene and one fingerprint helped catch the criminals.
The earlier the police are aware the quicker they can deploy surveillance teams to prevent a crime taking place.
If you have any such information or if you are aware of the theft of any tools or equipment that could be used in a crime, please contact PC Colin Bailey. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or if you prefer call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Cllr Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council
Tel: 07972 230282