‘Massive surge’ of parcel thefts in Leeds as communal mail areas in apartment blocks ransacked
The areas where deliveries from the likes of Amazon and ASOS are left are being broken into and ransacked on an increasingly frequent basis, a member of Leeds City Council has said.
Councillor Paul Wray said that it was an “extensive issue” and that there was “a collection” of people targeting the buildings.
Coun Wray said: “A few do it on a regular basis. I know one of the building operators who said that one of them was carrying a tool kit around with him.”
He said that it is a particular problem around Leeds Dock and other areas of the city centre but it has “become apparent that it is a citywide issue”.
He said: “Delivery drivers are putting stuff on top of mail boxes and thieves are trying to find ways to find vulnerabilities in the buildings to get in.”
He said the issue had grown in recent years for a number of reasons.
He said that people’s spending habits had changed over the Covid pandemic and there had been a “massive surge” in the number of home deliveries.
He also pointed to the lack of concierges being hired at the buildings and the pressure on delivery men to drop vast numbers of parcels off. Another matter, he said, was that the problems had not been foreseen when the planning developments were approved.
Coun Wray said: “The communal areas haven’t been designed to deal with that level of deliveries and are not designed to be overly secure.
"We have raised questions on how planning policies can be future proof to prevent this because the trend of buying from home is not going to change.”
Coun Wray said that Leeds City Council is working with police to combat the issue and that it has been raised nationally by Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn.
He said that building operators had been urged to hire concierges or increase security measures and that councillors are taking steps to ensure that future planning applications for apartment blocks have a secure postal area.
He said: “We are in the early stages of finding out what we can do as it is only recently that it has become really prolific.”
Inspector Natasha Tierney, who heads the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware that the communal areas of some city centre apartments have been targeted for parcel theft and we are working with local councillors, residents, crime prevention officers and building management to put effective measures in place to help deter any further incidents.
“Recent proactive work by the team has seen a man charged with a number of burglary and theft matters and we will continue to work in partnership to tackle these offences.”