Police are ‘invisible’ claims hall trustee after Tipton tool thefts

Julian Lory with his new tools. Ref shs 31 18TI 9096. Picture: Terry Ife

Julian Lory with his new tools. Ref shs 31 18TI 9096. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A community leader has slammed ‘invisible’ policing after a burglary that left a tradesman without his livelihood.

Tpton St John Community Hall

Tpton St John Community Hall - Credit: Archant

Julian Lory, 29, a father of four, was told to make his own ‘door-to-door’ inquiries after he had £8,000 worth of tools stolen from Tipton St John Community Hall, where he was repairing a leaking roof.

Hall trustee John Harding, husband of Councillor Lyn Harding, said: “I can’t remember the last time I saw a bobby in the village. We’ve got invisible policing. They don’t seem to do anything.”

Insurance did not cover the tools overnight. Instead, the hall management committee rallied round and bought enough tools for Julian to complete the job.

John said: “I’m absolutely disgusted at what’s happening. What frustrates me more than anything is the police are getting more money and we are seeing less and less of them.

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“We are hearing so many things like this happening. We want someone to care about us and come and investigate.

“What are we paying our money to the police for? If there was a way that I could stop paying my council tax for the police I would.”

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Julian Lory, from Ottery St Mary, who has four children including a newborn baby, said it had taken him 10 years to build up his tools.

He said: “It’s absolutely gut-wrenching. You can’t steal someone’s living.

“Humanity is lost when stuff like this happens. It’s my living, it’s how I feed my family.

“They could at least send someone out to reassure you. But there’s been nothing. All I got was a crime reference number.

“They even said I could go door-to-door to see if I could generate a line of inquiry.”

Hall chairman John Belton said: “We always consider Tipton to be a low crime area, which it is, so anything like this is a bigger blow because it’s not expected.”

A general review of security at the hall is being undertaken.

A police spokesman said the force works to national guidelines. No CCTV, witnesses or other evidence and a victim who was not ‘vulnerable’ meant the crime ‘did not meet the threshold’ for an officer to investigate.

He added: “We would recommend the victim speaks to people in the area to see if there is CCTV or any further evidence; we would reassess from this point onwards and, if necessary, assign an officer to undertake further enquiries.”

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