700% increase in Rochdale lead thefts

Date published: 02 January 2008

Thefts of lead from roofs of Rochdale homes have increased by 788% since April 2007 according to Rochdale Police figures. Police are warning residents to be on the look out for lead thieves and to report any crimes to them. The problem of lead thefts from the roofs of business premises in Rochdale town centre has been much publicised in recent months but it now appears that this is a boroughwide issue affecting both home and business owners on a much larger scale than in previous years.

Last week Rochdale Online reported that more than 30 houses had been targetted in the Sedgley, Weston and Buersil Avenue areas of Balderstone. Further to what he said last week, local resident and former Councillor Ian Duckworth has issued a plea for people to contact the police if they have had lead stolen from their roofs. He said: "This is a warning to home owners of the possibility of lead being stolen from homes. Members of the public need to report crimes to the police, no matter how futile it may seem. Only then can a true measure of the thefts be given and appropriate action taken."

Lead thefts from businesses in the town centre have also witnessed a dramatic increase this year and Council Officers are meeting Drake Street Traders this tomorrow, Thursday 3 January, to discuss the issue.

Lead thefts cause considerable damage to roofs and the increase has met with anger from both businesses owners and residents alike. A spokesman for Rochdale's independent traders was upset that the Council and the police were not doing enough to support independent traders in the town.

"We are taking this matter very seriously," said Rochdale Council Chief Executive Roger Ellis. "The ongoing problem of damage and vandalism obviously needs to be addressed. The meeting is a priority. Our Community Safety Officers always have been fully supportive of this and will be there, together with the police."

The meeting will be held with Drake Street Traders on Thursday 3 January at 5.15pm - 6.30pm Committee Room 1 at the Town Hall.

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