Security insufficient to foil raid on St Albans Christmas Market

St Albans Christmas Market

St Albans Christmas Market - Credit: Archant

Thieves have raided up to 17 chalets at the St Albans Christmas Market, despite there being security measures in place.

The festive addition to the bi-weekly St Albans market scene was burgled between 4.30am and 5am on Friday (5) even though two security guards were on duty.

Among the chalets targeted, one selling jewellery was the worst affected but there is some discrepancy between the council and police as to how many l were broken into in total.

Police are claiming that 17 stalls were targeted, but the district council have said there was an attempted break-in at five of the stalls, 10 were successfully broken into, and only four suffered thefts.

Two guards were in a nearby security hut and carried out half hourly patrols throughout the night but the incident has sparked questions about the security of the market.

Sid Khan, director of Principal Security Consultants which is responsible for the market’s security, said: “Two security guards did a patrol at 4.45am and then returned to the security hut in the cathedral courtyard.

“They did another patrol at 5.15am which is when they raised the alarm with police.”

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Sid added: “They didn’t hear anything because the hut isn’t right next to the market.

“The thieves must have been watching them to know when they weren’t going to be in the market and climbed over the wall.”

Further security measures have since been implemented, with a third security guard and more CCTV in the surrounding area.

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services said: “The police are investigating and the council has taken the matter up with the company contracted to manage security and patrol the site.

“We are working to support the traders who have lost stock. Clearly this is a blow for them and for us.

“Despite the setback, the market opened as planned the following day and was buzzing all weekend with an estimated 19,000 visitors between Friday and Sunday.”

He added: “I’d like to invite people to come on down and show your support to the traders.”