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Police in Belgrave, Leicester, step up bid to catch wheel thieves

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Police have issued a fresh appeal for help tracing thieves who are stealing wheels from cars.

The problem first came to the attention of police in Belgrave, Leicester, in February.

Since then, there have been 38 thefts reported.

On one night last week, nine cars were targeted in the space of a few hours.

Most of the victims' vehicles were propped up on blocks of wood or bricks, while others were left to rest on their axles.

In most cases, the thieves have stolen just one wheel from each car, although a small number have had all four removed.

Police told the Mercury they believed the thieves were stealing the wheels to sell them as spares.

However, they have not ruled out the possibility the thieves are also taking the wheels for the metal.

However, new regulations introduced have made it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen metal to scrap merchants.

A Belgrave resident said how earlier this week he found his car resting on its axle after thieves stole the front passenger wheel.

The 21-year-old student, who asked not to be named, said: "My neighbour's car had a wheel stolen the week before mine was done.

"I would never have thought they would come back and steal from the same street.

"It's cost me more than £100 to replace. Also, there might be some damage to my brake disks where the car was left resting on the road.

"People in the street all know about what is going on and we are all looking out for the people who are doing this.

"Used wheels aren't all that expensive, so I can't see them making much money from this. It seems a lot of effort for little financial gain."

Police are increasing patrols in the affected streets, which include Harrison Road, Catherine Street, Canon Street and Loughborough Road.

Sergeant Danny Paddock, of Keyham Lane police station, which covers Belgrave, said: "They are not targeting any particular kinds of cars or even expensive models.

"It doesn't take them long to jack a vehicle up and take the wheel off.

"People may have seen these people and assumed it was just someone changing a wheel because they'd had a puncture.

"The word is out and people are aware these thefts are happening. Hopefully they will call us if they see something suspicious."

Sergeant Sarah Widdowson, who leads the beat team for the Belgrave area, said: "We have been delivering leaflets in the area warning motorists and asking them to check their cars.

"We have had one person try to drive away, not realising their wheels had been stolen.

"I am also appealing to the public for their help. If you see anybody removing wheels or have been offered any for sale, please call 101."

Ratilal Govind, chairman of Belgrave United Neighbourhood Watch, said: "Police have increased patrols and I'm sure they will get to the bottom of this, but they will need our help."

Police offered the following crime prevention advice to motorists:

Consider fitting locking wheel nuts to your car. These are relatively cheap and easy to fit but hard to remove without the correct fitting.

If possible, store your car in a garage.

Fit sensor-activated security lights outside your home.

Have you had a wheel stolen? Call us on 0116 222 4241, or e-mail us and leave your name and number.

newsdesk@leicester mercury.co.uk

Police in Belgrave, Leicester, step up bid to catch wheel thieves


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