Burglars target high risk CCTV security cameras

Brazen burglars are stealing security cameras worth tens of thousands of pounds.

The thieves scale ladders to get at the high-level CCTV cameras.

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They have struck three times in the last week, taking cameras worth 5,000 in a single raid.

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Monitoring staff saw one thief produce a ladder, climb up to a camera and, ignoring a warning message broadcast through a speaker on the site, calmly unbolt the camera and escape.

One Leeds firm alone says it has lost 60,000 of cameras.

The team of raiders operates without face masks and appear not to worry about being recognised.

Now security company Gough and Kelly Ltd of Bramley, Leeds, is determined to put a halt to persistent attacks on its customers' cameras. It is offering a 3,000 reward for information that helps police convict the thieves.

For over seven years the security and electrical specialists has had cameras stolen from customers in Leeds, Yeadon, Bradford, Huddersfield and Bingley.

Contracts manager Russell Todd estimates that over those years, 30 to 40 cameras worth 60,000 have been stolen.

He said that the firm had never expected to become targets for thieves themselves. The company monitors the sites of more than 100 customers and operates mobile security patrols.

Three cameras worth 5,000 were removed from an education department building in Armley, Leeds. Also targeted were an Armley construction company and the Odeon cinema at Thornbury.

In one incident Mr Todd was alerted to a raid and hurried to the site in time to see two men in a compound, one holding a ladder and a second at the top starting to remove the camera.

"I told them what I was going to do to them if I got hold of them, but could not get inside the fence to reach the pair before the guy came down the ladder and got away," said Mr Todd.

Mr Todd said the raiders appeared to move about the county to target cameras in different areas to evade detection. They specifically targeted "dome" type cameras which cost in the region of 1,500.

Mr Todd said he believed the thieves were stealing to order for an installer who returned the cameras to the manufacturer claiming they were defective.

A spokesman for North West Leeds Police said: "The theft of the three

cameras is being investigated and officers would like to hear from anyone who recognises the CCTV images or who has any information about those involved."

Contact PC Clare Cope of the neighbourhood investigations unit at Horsforth on 0113 239 5033 or email: cc23@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Officers are also looking at intelligence from previous incidents to see if any links can be established.

A bulletin has been circulated to neighourhood policing officers across the North West Leeds Division to ask them to be on the lookout for anyone involved in this type of crime.