Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Teenagers blamed for shoplifting and vandalism

TEENAGERS have been blamed for incidents of shoplifting and criminal damage in Sonning Common.

TEENAGERS have been blamed for incidents of shoplifting and criminal damage in Sonning Common.

The Co-operative store in Wood Lane had goods stolen in two different incidents and a back gate was kicked off its hinges.

The offenders were identified from a group of teenagers who had been sitting outside the village hall nearby.

Pcso Colin Boyes told a meeting of the parish council that one theft had been dealt with by the youth offending team and action was being taken in the other case.

He said the benches outside the hall encouraged groups of teenagers to  congregate. Psco Boyes said: “Your benches outside the hall are quite an attraction. Some of the group came from further afield â?? there were about five or six who I hadn’t seen before.

“There was an incident of criminal damage at the back entrance of the Co-op in Woodlands Road.

“The Co-op have been very helpful with enquiries and I have seen the CCTV. You can see from the CCTV people in the group move down there to try to kick the gate and then the whole thing collapses. It needs to be replaced because the screws have become completely dislodged.”

Pcso Boyes sent letters to the parents of all the members of the group he was familiar with but only three parents got back to him. He said: “One did not believe it was their child, another wanted to see the CCTV, which I showed them. Another didn’t think they would be in Sonning Common because they’re from Caversham.”

Councillor Colin Reynolds asked why so many youngsters come from Caversham and Pcso Boyes said some were Chiltern Edge School pupils.

He added: “They are allowed to congregate and it’s an attractive site. We will continue to show our presence. We are going to issue behaviour contracts to some of them.”

Meanwhile, infrared CCTV cameras are to be installed near the village hall. One will be placed at the front of the building in Wood Lane and the other at the back of the car park.

The cameras will cost about £350 to install and will be paid for by the parish council. Two of the eight existing cameras will be relocated.

Councillor Dirk Jones said: “The new cameras will have a longer range and are a lot more capable when it’s dark. That is what the police want. We have a new NatWest cash machine going on the front of the building and I would like more coverage of that.”

The cash machine will replace the one at the former NatWest bank in Peppard Road, which was blown out of the wall in a raid in February.

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