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Bury St Edmunds householder repeatedly targeted by thieves blasts Suffolk Police over response to crimes




A Bury St Edmunds man whose home has been repeatedly targeted by thieves says he feels ‘abandoned’ by police over what he sees as a failure to bring the culprits to justice.

Gavin Hale, of Winthrop Road, has slammed Suffolk Police as a ‘non-entity’ after a gang of youths stole a laptop and other items from his daughter’s car in the early hours of Friday, May 14.

Suffolk Police have said they take ‘every report of crime seriously’ and ‘strive every day to bring perpetrators to justice’.

Gavin Hale says he feels ‘abandoned’ by police following a series of crimes. Stock image
Gavin Hale says he feels ‘abandoned’ by police following a series of crimes. Stock image

Mr Hale said a police officer asked his daughter Angelina, 19, to try to gather CCTV evidence, which they managed to secure from a neighbour showing the youths trying to open car doors but was told it was ‘insufficient evidence’.

“You can clearly see the youths haven’t got gloves on,” he said. “It would have taken 30 minute for someone to come out and take some fingerprints but they just don’t bother.”

It follows a number of incidents in the eight years Mr Hale has lived in Winthrop Road and he said he had lost faith in the police’s ability to apprehend the culprits.

The criminals are laughing in our faces really – they know the police are going to do nothing - Gavin Hale

“They’re there by name and that’s it,” he said. “They will not stop them stealing your car, damaging your car or entering your house.

“You’re on your own now. Where I live the police are a non-entity.”

The result, he said, was ‘no deterrent for the criminals’ and he believed it was a consequence of the Government’s ‘massive cutbacks’.

Mr Hale, 55, said: “The criminals are laughing in our faces really – they know the police are going to do nothing.”

Inspector Andy Beeby said his colleagues 'strive every day to bring perpetrators to justice whilst safeguarding the most vulnerable'. Picture: Mecha Morton
Inspector Andy Beeby said his colleagues 'strive every day to bring perpetrators to justice whilst safeguarding the most vulnerable'. Picture: Mecha Morton

About 18 months ago, a £20,000 white Golf lease hire car was stolen from outside his property, never to be seen again.

After contacting the police, he was told 48 hours later the case was closed with ‘no realistic chance of getting a conviction’.

Two to three years before that, he was woken in the early hours by a neighbour who had seen a ‘young lad’ running from his house with a crowbar.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said by the end of this financial year the constabulary will have 1,330 officers
Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said by the end of this financial year the constabulary will have 1,330 officers

The youth tried to crowbar open his car causing more than £2,000 of damage to the front and side passenger doors.

Despite the police making contact, he said he ‘never heard anything else about it’.

“We’re being abandoned – for what reasons I don’t know but we’re not being policed properly,” he said.

Mr Hale, a driving instructor, said the ‘bigger concern’ came after his neighbour witnessed someone trying to break into their house over Christmas time while they were asleep.

“When you are dealing with the type of criminals that are not bothered if the owners are at home when they break in you have a very very serious situation that will sooner or later result in violence.”

Statistics on website police.uk of crimes by outcomes in Bury St Edmunds for the three years between May 2018 and March 2021 show
there were 5,423 incidents in which the suspect was unable to be prosecuted and 4,096 with the investigation completed but no suspect identified.

We take every report of crime seriously and investigate offences - Inspector Andy Beeby

Inspector Andy Beeby, of Suffolk Police, said they were focused on making the county a safer place for residents, businesses and visitors.

“We take every report of crime seriously and investigate offences,” he said. “Police strive every day to bring perpetrators to justice whilst safeguarding the most vulnerable.

“When a pattern of offending is identified in a particular locality we work to ensure that our response is proportionate and pro-active to prevent crime from taking place.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said policing numbers in the west of the county had ‘increased significantly’ over the past couple of years.

“By the end of this financial year the constabulary will have an establishment of 1,330 officers, more than at any time since I was first elected in 2012,” he said.

“The national Operation Uplift programme resulted in 54 extra officers last year, 17 of these are based in the west, and there are more to follow in these next two years.

“An increase in the council tax precept will also provide a further 26 officers during this year, in addition to the 20 extra officers recruited last year.

“This increased number of officers, and more investigators, will improve visibility and detection capability, and I expect this to enhance policing right across the county.”

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here.

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