Thieves strike four times in three days in Rutland

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A CRIMEWAVE swept through Rutland this week with bikes, computers, a tractor and lead stolen.

Police are investigating four incidents which are not being linked.

Thieves cut the lock off a 40-foot container with an angle grinder at Rutland Cycling at Whitwell and stole five bikes inside it between 10pm and 10.30pm on Tuesday.

The bikes, worth about £6,000, were all in for repair and the owners have been informed.

Cycle centre manager Iain Macdonald said the company had spent about £20,000 on extra security over the last six months but it is still not deterring the thieves.

“We don’t want people to think that their bikes are not safe with us. They are,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much security we have, if they want to get in then they will get in.”

Since the break-in all bikes have been kept inside the centre overnight instead of in containers.

Mr Macdonald added: “We would ask people to be vigilant and if they are offered mountain bikes at ‘too good to be true’ prices then get in touch with us or the police.”

Thieves took 19 iMac computers from the music lab at Catmose College in Huntsman Drive, Oakham, between 2pm and 3.30pm on Sunday.

They drove a van to the back of the school and smashed through two padlocked gates and a window to the classroom to get to the computers.

Principal Stuart Williams says the burglary only took five minutes.

He added: “We are all very disappointed that the school has been vandalised in this way.

“Our premises officer and the police were swift to respond to the alarm but the culprits had already left the scene.

“Fortunately we have some excellent CCTV coverage and will be working with the police to ensure those responsible are apprehended and brought to justice.”

On Sunday thieves targeted Market Overton church for the second time in four months.

Lead was stolen from the roof of St Peter and St Paul in Teight Road in June and repairs are expected to cost more than £20,000.

Thieves struck between 10pm on Sunday and 6am on Monday and stole half the amount again.

Churchwarden Julia Fisher-Robins said: “I couldn’t believe it. We are all devastated. How can a small church like us replace that much lead?”

It is estimated that this time it will cost another £10,000 to repair.

The lead stolen in June had not yet been replaced and Mrs Fisher-Robins is counting that as a blessing.

She said: “We are going to have to make a decision whether to replace the roof with lead or another material. Is replacing the lead just an invitation for more theft?”

Members of the congregation are rallying to raise the money and the next fundraising event will be a Christmas Fair on November 26.

A yellow JCB Farm loadall tractor with a telescopic arm, registration number FX60 FGN, was taken from a farm in Main Street, Cottesmore, between 9am and midday on Wednesday.

Police believe it was driven towards Greetham and the A1.

Its loading arm has 536-60 printed on it and it has a cab on the right-hand side. All other attachments were dropped.

Police are linking the incident to an attempted theft of a JCB from Medbourne near Market Harborough on Tuesday and reports of suspicious activity at farms in Teigh and Thistleton on Wednesday.

It is also being linked to another attempted JCB theft in Ketton between 4pm on Wednesday and 6.45am yesterday.

The dashboard of the JCB had been forced open and wires to the immobiliser had been cut.

Officers are asking anyone who sees a black Vauxhall Vectra estate in the area to contact them.