BIRSTALL traders have said “enough is enough” after yet another business was broken into at the weekend.
Burglars smashed their way into SMG Vapes on Bradford Road on Friday night, causing thousands of pounds’-worth of damage – for just £4 out of the till.
Over the past four months, The Press has reported a rise in similar crimes in Birstall. According to traders, it is being done by the same group of youths. In some cases, business owners have even given names and addresses to police.
A police meeting to try and tackle the recent spike in crime took place at the end of last year, with PCSOs in attendance. But traders feel nothing has changed, and there have been more break-ins since.
The owner of SMG Vapes, Sally Gibbons, said officers (as of Tuesday afternoon) hadn’t followed up her report of a break-in and she had to go to Dewsbury Police Station to try and get answers.
She has even thought about closing the shop, which she’s only run for three months, because of the recent incident in which windows were smashed, the till system broken and a shutter pulled off.
She said one of the suspects dropped their mobile phone case and battery at the scene. They had approached the shop on mopeds before breaking in some time between 11.15pm and 11.38pm.
She said: “I close up now at three o’clock because I’m here on my own. We’ve thought about closing (indefinitely). I’m in here on my own – what am I going to do if five of them turn up? They’ve got me. I can’t guarantee police will even turn up.”
Members of the Birstall Chamber of Trade said they feel like they are “banging our heads against a brick wall” with police.
Vice chairman David Exley said: “We want what we pay for – a police presence. We’ve got a particular problem, so we want the game upping. We want action from the police to arrest them.
“I want to keep pressure on police but we need to up it now. We need to go to head office at Kirklees and speak to the chief superintendent; enough is enough. We want action, they know who they are and we want them locking up.”
One woman, who used to run a business in Birstall but didn’t want to be named, said: “I was broken into five times during the time I had my business. You don’t get the money back for repairs, you get nothing back.
“There’s no stopping these kids because they know they can get away with it. I understand police have their hands tied but something needs to be done because these kids are out of control.
“What do they have to do before the police actually do something?”
Inspector Dorian James said: “West Yorkshire Police are investigating the break-in at the vape shop on Friday night and are appealing for witnesses and information.
“We do fully recognise business owners’ concerns at the spate of commercial burglaries in the area before Christmas and have been conducting extended patrols with both my local neighbourhood officers and specialist officers from outside Kirklees to discourage offending and provide a visible policing presence and this work will continue.
“Investigations continue with a number of lines of enquiry ongoing. I thank those who have come forward with information and would encourage anyone who may have information about these offences who we may not have spoken to, to contact us.”
Anyone wih information about the break-in at SMG Vapes should contact Batley and Spen NPT on 101, quoting crime reference number 13190007125.