Raiders steal car park cash

THIEVES have stolen thousands of pounds in raids on parking meters across north Northumberland.

Ticket machines in Alnwick, Seahouses, Bamburgh and Newton-by-the-Sea were all hit in the weekend spree. Police believe a drill was used to make a hole in the cash boxes and have urged people to be wary of anyone spending large quantities of coins.

Alnwick Neighbourhood Inspector Sue Peart said: “If any of the pubs, B&Bs and shops notice that people are paying for things with lots of coins, I would ask that they phone us immediately.”

Speaking of the Alnwick raid, which saw a number of machines in Greenwell Road targeted, she added: “They got away with an awful lot of money. That money would have gone back into the Alnwick economy if it hadn’t been stolen, so effectively they are stealing from the Alnwick people and the community.”

The other thefts occurred at Seafield Road, Seahouses, Links Road, Bamburgh, and in Newton-by-the-Sea between 11pm on Saturday and 7am on Monday.

The raids are similar to a case in July 2009, when two Romanian thieves travelled from London to Northumberland to break into meters, as part of a nationwide spate. The pair drilled out the cash box of a meter in Seahouses, stealing more than £1,000. In January last year, they were jailed for 23 weeks.

Inspector Peart said that she thinks that the weekend’s incidents could be linked.

“We thought it might be travelling criminals who were targeting the area then and one of the theories is that it is that gang again, whether it is the same people again or their friends.”

Berwick Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Duguid said: “We believe a drill has been used to make a hole in the machines, so someone may have seen someone with a drill or a bag containing a drill.”

Anyone with any information should contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043043, ext 69191. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.