Ottery milk thefts are part of teen game

LATE-night thefts of milk from Ottery residents doorsteps are part of a twisted game played by teens- the Herald can reveal.

LATE-night thefts of milk from Ottery residents'doorsteps are part of a twisted game played by teens- the Herald can reveal.

The spate of ongoing weekend thieving this week became the neighbourhood policing team's top priority as elderly residents and a local dairy have been left counting its cost.

The Herald has learnt offenders have bragged about pilfering up to 40 pints of milk in one night before transporting their haul, which can include other products such as orange juice, yoghurt and butter, to the Land of Canaan.

It is claimed the group embark on the dairy thieving spree after returning from nightclubbing, and have a pointing system to gauge their success.

In recent weeks three pints of milk have been taken from St Budeaux Close, two pints from St Anthony's Close and even a milk bottle holder and its contents from Shutes Mead. All the incidents have taken place after 3am at weekends.

PCSO Maria Clapp said officers will now patrol the town's streets in the early hours in a "fully committed" bid to catch the offenders.

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She said: "This may be viewed as a small incident but it isn't for the people involved.

"In one incident milk was taken from the side of a property leaving the resident a bit worried as they had entered her premises."

Last week neighbourhood beat manager Phil Thomas said: "This cannot keep continuing, it may seem trivial but it causes a massive inconvenience to elderly residents."

An Ottery resident, who contacted the Herald but did not wish to be identified, said: "They are playing a big game. It's a group of teenagers who try and steal as much milk as possible. They have a different pointing system for the different types of products.

"One of the group drives, they tail-gate milk float and pick up what is dropped off.

"I've heard one of them bragging about it, how half of the back seat of his car has been covered with glass milk bottles. They often go to the Land of Canaan and drink it."

Dairy Crest, which delivers milk in the town, has had to reimburse numerous customers, some of whom have cancelled their rounds. A spokesperson said the "very serious" matter is "affecting the livelihood of milkmen."

Slade Close resident Derek Baxter described how he was left "angry and

irritated" after three pints of milk and a large bag of dog food went missing from his

doorstep earlier this year. He knows numerous neighbours who have suffered from thefts.

"I don't think they realise the problems they are causing, but they are thieves, simple as that.