Sidmouth lost property could lead to ‘less visible’ police

Endless amounts of keys, glasses, watches, mobile phones and jewellery will end up 35 miles away in Paignton.

LOST property could lead to a ‘less visible’ police presence on Sidmouth’s streets after force cuts shut the town cop shop’s front office.

Scores of unclaimed items misplaced during the busy summer season will end up 35 miles away in Paignton- but only before bobbies have to haul them to ‘hubs’ in Exmouth or Honiton.

“Officers will have to travel to another station in either of those towns if they’re handed stuff in the street,” said Sergeant Andy Turner. “It could lead to a decrease in visibility.”

He added endless amounts of keys, glasses, watches, mobile phones and jewellery will be cleared from storage spaces in Honiton and Exmouth ‘on a regular basis’ and carted to a central depot in Paignton.

Sidmouth residents and visitors can no longer claim lost property from the town’s Temple Street police station after its valued enquiry officer of 17 years, Debbie Hollamby, was made redundant.

“There are lots of reasons why losing Debbie is going to be a blow and this in one of them- it is one that will hamper officers,” said PS Turner.

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“Debs was a one-stop-shop for any policing problems-it wasn’t just lost property.

“That is no longer there now. Officers that remain are the ones who will have to take up the slack. It’s inevitably going to have a knock on effect.

“Lost property is more of an issue in the summer. From a local policing point of view, we’ve got quite an honest population who know wrong from right and hand things in. Unfortunately closing the station’s front office is making it a lot harder for them.

“Lost property at Honiton and Exmouth will have to be cleared out on a regular basis as all the other front offices that closed, like those in Seaton and Axminster, have lost their property stores too.”

PS Turner added whole-scale changes to the force, set to take effect on May 20, will see more officers patrolling the streets in the short term.