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Muswell Hill allotments targeted twice in a week by copper thieves

PUBLISHED: 16:23 13 January 2012

Copper thefts: June Lambert with the broken door to the shop she runs with her husband on the allotments.

Copper thefts: June Lambert with the broken door to the shop she runs with her husband on the allotments.

Richard Twilton

Callous thieves have swiped nearly every pot, kettle and pan from Muswell Hill allotments – breaking into 82 sheds in a metal-theft rampage.

Callous thieves have swiped nearly every pot, kettle and pan from Muswell Hill allotments – breaking into 85 sheds in a metal-theft rampage.

Raiders are believed to have cut through the metal fence separating the gardens from Bluebell Wood, before smashing into dozens of outhouses and stripping them of their copper in two break-ins on Saturday and Monday night.

It is the sixth time the allotments have been targeted in the past year, and comes after thieves stole thousands of pounds of machinery and tombola prizes from the gardens in August.

June Lambeth, who has tended her allotment for more than 20 years, said: “I’ve never known the break-ins to be this bad.

“They have stolen thousands of pounds worth of goods in total and a lot of doors will need replacing, which will cost a lot.

“I don’t know that we can protect our allotment apart from sitting up there all night. It is sad really.

“It does make you think in a way is it all worth it, but at the end of the day, why should we let them win?”

Copper prices have climbed to an all-time high, an increase police are linking to the growing problem of metal thefts in the area.

Mrs Lambert’s husband, Sean, who runs the allotment shop, first raised the alarm on Sunday morning after discovering the area had been devastated the night before.

Shed doors had been ripped from their hinges and nearly every metal implement swiped, including copper piping from the water tanks.

The green-fingered residents received more bad news on Tuesday morning when a gardener discovered the allotments had been targeted again.

Nearly every shed had been ransacked in what allotment holders believe was a planned attack by thieves to plunder their metal.

Mrs Lambert said the allotments’ seclusion made them a target for thieves.

She said: “I definitely think the police should up their patrols in the area. They aren’t showing their faces there often enough otherwise this wouldn’t have happened.

“But then they are busy with more important things.”

A Haringey police spokeswoman said they had launched Operation Ferrous to crack down on metal thefts, and had seized a van carrying scrap metal in nearby Durnsford Road last Friday, the night before the first allotment break-in.

Sergeant Dave Williams, of Fortis Green and Alexandra Safer Neighbourhoods Teams and borough lead on Operation Ferrous, said: “Targeting the roads is one way to tackle many offences including scrap metal theft.

“We are also visiting scrap metal dealers to tackle this growing problem.”

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