Caravan unloved: West Yorkshire police fear criminals will target mobile homes at garden centre between Wakefield and Normanton

Police fear caravans could be an "easy target" for criminals if security is not stepped up at a garden centre planning to accommodate them.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 4:59 pm

Roots Nurseries and Garden Centre, near Altofts, has asked for planning permission to make space for "caravan storage" on its premises.

But West Yorkshire Police says it's concerned the mobile homes on the site, located on Birkwood Road, may be left vulnerable.

The garden centre got approval for similar plans last year, which included the building of a small dwelling on site, but its managers have now decided against following through with that.

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The garden centre is located on the main road between Stanley Ferry and Altofts.

The new planning application does not include the dwelling, which has fuelled police's concerns about security.

In their response to the new plans, officer Keith Pape said: "This latest application, with the removal of the dwelling, greatly increases the level of vulnerability afforded to the caravans and their contents and will no doubt be seen as an easy target.

"The isolated location of the caravan site, together with the lack of ‘capable

guardian’/surveillance, will offer potential offenders time and anonymity in the commission of committing crime."

PC Pape referenced statistics which suggested there had been nearly 100 criminal incidents where caravans had been targeted over the course of a year in the Wakefield district.

Most of those involved burglary, theft and damage.

Police have called on the applicants to ensure a live CCTV system is set up and fully monitored to cover the area.

They've also suggested the installation of a two-metre high fence, along with "anti-ram measures" and a "suitably designed lighting scheme".

In their planning statement, Roots' consultants said the new scheme would help retain jobs and be good for the local economy.

The proposals involve demolishing some parts of the current garden centre, which the applicants said would mean the, "Removal of some poor quality structures and reduce the spread of visual clutter.

They added: "The proposed landscaping, combined with the tidying up of the site, would enhance the visual impact of the site and provide opportunities for ecological enhancement.

"The site is located in a sustainable location and future residents would have good access to public transport links."

Local Democracy Reporting Service