Leighton-Linslade crime in the spotlight


Policing remains a hot topic of conversation following last week’s report that claimed Leighton-Linslade is the safest town in Beds.

This week, the LBO takes a look at criminal activity in the last three months of 2013 that involved officers on behalf of Operation Dodford.

Leighton-Linslade Town Council spend £40,000 of taxpayers’ cash annually to ensure extra patrols through this initiative, with officers tasked with night time and market day patrols.

Officers working nights were used for a total of 55 hours in October (25 hours for PCs and 30 for PCSOs) in order for there to be high visibility foot patrol in the town centre and target areas including parks for anti-social behaviour and drug use.

During this time they were called to attend Waterborne Walk after Blockbusters reported seeing 10 youths allegedly smoking cannabis, one of whom had a BB gun. Armed response officers arrived and seized the gun and put it in for property destruction.

Whereas on market days in the same month, patrols were needed for 30 hours – with just five hours from PCs compared to 25 hours from PCSOs – to do licensed premises checks, monitor taxi ranks, stop check youngsters for truancy and seize alcohol and cigarettes from minors.

In November, officers caught males urinating in a public place, but it turned out the men were suspects for a recent robbery. Stolen items were found on one of the men, but both were arrested for robbery and stealing alcohol from the Shell garage.

On the same day, a 70-year-old female shoplifter was detained for theft from Tesco in Vimy Road, Linslade, and Waitrose and Wilkinson on Leighton High Street.

The woman was found with multiple items from all the stores in her trolley, but officers dealt with her using restorative justice – a system that holds offenders to account for what they have done by helping them understand the real impact, taking responsibility, and making amends.

Elsewhere Lloyds Pharmacy reported to police they had £2,000 worth of cosmetics stolen. Superdrug was also targeted, but both companies had not reported the crime straight away.

In December, officers on night patrol were used for a total of 75 hours (40 hours for market duty), with high visibility targeting in Stanbridge Road after a spate of burglaries.

Additionally, there were reports of suspicious youths carol singing in Leighton’s Cormorant Way, but after a search of the area there was no trace.

Police were also called to a report of a potential suicide at Leighton Buzzard Railway Station, but it was in fact a dead deer on the track.

Speaking to the town council on the report, Sgt Andy Rivers said: “November was a bad month for burglaries with a large number of these crimes down to the community failing to double lock their front doors.”

Sgt Rivers went on to say the LBO’s reporting of the increase in insecure burglaries in November “had a major impact” to help stop further crime.

He added: “We also changed our shifts and worked nights to patrol the areas where the offences were being committed at the relevant times. Since this campaign we have not had a burglary through an insecure door.”