Thief strikes at St Albans swimming pool

PUBLISHED: 15:01 18 December 2010




A FATHER and son were lucky to be left with their clothes after being targeted by thieves during a swimming session at a St Albans pool last week.

Alan Whittingham and his six-year-old son were swimming on Thursday at Westminster Lodge when thieves broke into their locker taking the keys for Alan’s car before they made off in his black Subaru Impreza.

The thieves also took Alan’s house keys, his phone and his son’s school bag which contained his books and Christmas cards. It is believed that the thieves followed Alan into the changing rooms from the car park and paid their entrance fee, but Alan said that given the lack of security, it was easy for anyone to gain access to people’s belongings.

“There’s no turnstile at the centre and although they think these youths may have paid to gain entry, it’s quite easy for people to walk in and out of the changing rooms and the lockers aren’t secure.

“People need to be aware of this problem and be vigilant – this must be one of the easiest and most low-risk ways for thieves to get a car of their choice.

“Clearly customer security should be added to the range of issues currently being hotly debated in relation to the redevelopment of Westminster Lodge.”

Alan, who is an architect, said that the staff at Westminster Lodge had been very helpful and very quickly alerted the police but one member of staff had also informed him that similar incidents had occurred at the leisure centre before.

A spokesperson for Westminster Lodge said: “We are working closely with the local police to help in any way we can with this investigation. In the meantime we are reviewing our security measures across the centre and encourage customers to increasingly make use of the personal lockers in reception and to report anything suspicious to a member of staff immediately.”

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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