Burglars target village 15 times in recent months

Series of burglaries in Ackworth village
Autoserv, Wakefield Road, Ackworth
James Matthews
Series of burglaries in Ackworth village Autoserv, Wakefield Road, Ackworth James Matthews

Businesses in Ackworth have been left counting the cost after a series of break-ins has plagued the village since the summer.

Burglars have struck at several companies, some on multiple occasions, and taken off with thousands of pounds worth of money, stock and equipment.

Those targeted include the Esso fuel station on Wakefield Road, neighbouring MOT business Autoserv, the Bargain Booze off-licence opposite and garden machinery company JC Powerco Ltd on nearby Barnsley Road.

James Matthews, who runs Autoserv, has been in his current premises for nine years and has never experienced such a succession of break-ins.

His company was the latest to be burgled when the culprits smashed their way into his property in the early hours of last Thursday morning, December 1, taking off with a safe containing £3,500 in cash, £4,500 worth of cheques and a set of car keys.

The cheques and car keys were later found dumped, but he said: “We do not know what’s been going on, it’s out of character for this village,” he said.

“People are very upset, as you can imagine, and they are getting worried.

“I’ve got a £10,000 security camera system in place and that has not stopped them.

“People need to be made aware of what’s happening.”

The manager of one business, who did not want to be named, said she has even been forced to shell out for a security officer 
to stay on the premises after dark.

Her business has been burgled five times since July.

She told the Express: “I’m having to spend more on wages so security can stay here on a night.

“It’s coming up to Christmas and I’m worried it’s going to happen again.”

Sergeant Dave Lockwood said a number of arrests have been made in connection with a grocery store offence, the off-licence break-ins and one burglary at the petrol station.

He said: “Police are aware of residents’ concern and have made a number of arrests as part of ongoing enquiries.

“We have recorded 15 burglary offences since July. These include two offences at a garage, two at a grocery store and two at an off-licence.

“Active and comprehensive investigations are ongoing.

“We are aware theses burglaries have caused concern and we will continue to patrol these areas to provide a visible presence and reassurance.

“The majority of these offences involve theft of cigarettes and alcohol and anyone with any information or who has been approached offering the cheap sale of these items should report this to the South East NPT on 101.”