Crime File: Great turkey heist is a festive theft most fowl

SMASH and grab poultry thieves are being hunted after Christmas turkeys and chickens worth thousands were stolen from a renowned Leeds butchers.

The gang struck at a van belonging to a butcher's shop parked outside the firm's premises in Pudsey just four days before Christmas – the busiest period of the year for the store.

While staff were occupied in the rear of the premises of Bentley's Butchers, who also specialise in game meats, in Robin Lane, Pudsey, on the evening of Tuesday December 21, the gang attacked the company's long wheelbase Sprinter van which was parked outside the shop.

The raiders forced open the rear doors of the van and got clean away with a large number of turkeys and chickens before the proprietor and his staff discovered the vehicle had been broken into and cleared out of stock.

Fortunately the company was able to replace the stolen poultry and replenish its stocks so that none of its customers were let down, said one member of staff.

He said: "All the staff were busy working in the back of the shop when they got into the van. It was completely cleared out of all the stock.

"We managed to replace the stock so no one was let down for their Christmas Day.

"All I can say is I hope the birds choke whoever stole them," he added.

Bentley have secured numerous awards for their pork pies and sausages, including some in the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage and Products competition and others from The Pork Pie Appreciation Society awards.

Police hunt for two missing men

Police are trying to trace two men who have been missing since before Christmas.

John Duffy, 52, from Castleford, was last seen on Tuesday, December 7 at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Mr Duffy was reported missing from his home on Healdfield Road on November 17.

The last reported sighting of Mr Duffy was when he was admitted to LGI on December 7 for observations.

Police believe he has links to the East End Park and Cross Gates areas of Leeds, but may also be in the Wakefield or Manchester areas.

Police are also trying to trace Ronald Johnson, known as Roy, 78, who was last seen in the Lumley Street area of Castleford on December 15 at 10am.

Mr Johnson, from the Knottingley area, is described as white, around 5ft 7ins tall and of average build, with a receding hairline and glasses.

When he was last seen, he was wearing a green and brown flat cap and a beige fleece jacket.

He also wore beige cords and blue cardigan and is described as smart in appearance.

Anyone who has seen John Duffy or Ronald Johnson or has information about the missing men is asked to call Wakefield District Police on 0845 606 0606 or any police officer.

Offenders pitch in for market

CONVICTED offenders spent four weeks re-decorating Castleford's old market hall.

Wakefield Council worked alongside the Probation Service's community payback team and Carlton Lanes shopping centre on the project, which involved painting over 1,000 square metres of wall.

Bridge Arts on Sagar Street also pitched in, providing tea and coffee to the painters who braved freezing conditions.

Bar staff fined after girl of 13 is served booze

STAFF at two West Yorkshire pubs were hit with police fines for selling booze to a 13-year-old girl.

The youngster was enlisted by police to pose as test customer for an operation to expose pubs and clubs in Knottingley and Pontefract which are illegally selling alcohol to younsgters.

Ten venues passed, but the girl was served alcohol at Pontefract pubs, the Red Lion in Market Place and Bar Liquid, on Shoe Market.

The members of staff who served the youth were issued with 80 fines.

Licensing officers will meet with the designated premises supervisors and the premises will be placed on action plans.

Insp Richard Sullivan, of the Pontefract and Knottingley Neigbourhood Policing Team, said: "Police will take positive action against any premises selling alcohol to juveniles. It is well known that there is a link between alcohol and youth disorder and it is imperative that licensees and their staff act responsibly and within the law.

"We encourage staff to ask for identification of any person who does not look 21. My staff will continue to act on information from the community and conduct these type of operations to ensure Pontefract is a safe place for people to enjoy a night out and to minimise alcohol-related youth disorder."

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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