Colney Heath councillor calls for more police in rural areas after dog injured by van thieves

Colney Heath Cllr Chris Brazier

Colney Heath Cllr Chris Brazier - Credit: Archant

A dog has been attacked by thieves who were disturbed while stealing tools from its owner’s van.

With van drivers throughout this district suffering a spate of thefts from their vehicles over the past few months, there are fears last Friday’s (5) attack marks an ugly shift in the way thieves operate in the area.

A spokeswoman for Herts Police, which has launched an appeal for information, said officers were called to an address in Tollgate Road in Colney Heath at about 1.30am, after being told that two offenders had gained entry to the side door of a van and stolen a leaf blower.

She added: “During the incident it is alleged that one of the men hit a dog with an object, reported to the police to be a pole, causing a cut to its face.”

Concerned St Albans district councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, said he had spoken to the owner of the dog which was attacked.

He said: “It is a small dog, and it’s got a mask on its face at the moment. It was hit because it was trying to protect the van.

“It’s not just petty theft, because of the threat it poses. The police should be looking more seriously into the situation because it is not fair to members of the public just to say they should be more vigilant.”

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Cllr Brazier said he had feared there would be more crime as a result of police station closures in the district, and a reduction in resources.

He added: “I would like to see more police in the local area and a more visible police presence – not just passing through in their cars.

“If you have a more visible presence, especially in village areas, thieves might be deterred but if they see there are no police around, they think they can get away with breaking into vehicles.”

During May alone there were 12 reported thefts from vans across St Albans, Harpenden, London Colney and Colney Heath.

Det Insp Pete Frost, St Albans, said there have been increased patrols as a result of the spate of thefts.

He added: “We would strongly advise drivers to make sure they remove all valuables from their vehicles, including from the glove box and boot, and ensure all doors and windows are locked when leaving vehicles unattended.

“Anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity around vehicles should contact police immediately.”

• St Albans Safer Neighbourhood team is investigating the van theft in Tollgate Road and have urged anyone with information to contact them via non-emergency number 101.