Milk thieves return to Ottery

Police said milk thieves should be ‘ashamed’ after a string of incidents in Ottery over the past few weeks.

Officers confirmed five offences of one or two pints being stolen from doorsteps in Hind Street over the last fortnight, and one at Grandisson Drive.

Ottery PC Phil Thomas said his message to the perpetrators was: “I would suggest you should be ashamed.

“Not only are you committing theft but you are causing distress and inconvenience to members of the community, some of whom are elderly and/or infirm and have difficulty in walking to the shops to replace the stolen milk.”

He called the incidents ‘very frustrating’, and confirmed the thefts have occurred on various early mornings, so there is no set pattern as yet.

The constable added said “The theft of milk from doorsteps has been a sporadic recurring problem over the last few years.

“It is possible that some thefts aren’t being reported and I would urge victims to report the matter using the police 101 line.”

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In 2009 a spate of thefts was revealed to be part of a ‘game’ with a points scoring system played by teenagers who tried to steal as many pints as possible,

One even bragged abut taking 40 bottles in one night, and it was reported the thieves used to meet up at the Land of Canaan and drink the pilfered milk.

The thieves struck again a year later in Slade Close, which a dairy firm said was ‘affecting the livelihoods of milkmen’.

PC Thomas is asking anybody for information about the crimes to come forward, and report suspicious behaviour.

But the officer also moved to reassure residents police will be stepping up patrols in the area to combat the problem.

Ottery PCSO Maria Clapp said it may seem trivial, but it is not for the people involved.

“It can cause a great inconvenience and is also very worrying to know that people have been on your property,” she said.