A GANG of thieves targeting valuable metal have raided properties in one area of Blackpool 12 times in just two weeks.
Police are investigating the spate of thefts on properties including the Salvation Army Citadel, the Pelham Lodge Hotel and Self Storage on General Street, and Spartan Sunbed shop on Dickson Road.
Spartan owner Adrian Courtney-Massey said he was furious when he discovered lead had been taken from his premises.
He added: “It is just horrendous because it not only cost me £150 to replace the lead but I had to pay double that on my insurance excess.
“Just after it happened to us the shop next door which has been empty for a while was targeted.
“The man who had recently bought it had left his tools and copper piping inside so they broke in and stole that as well.
“People need to be warned about this because the problem is rife in the town centre at the moment. It is awful.
Mr Courtney-Massey has called for a review of the law which enabled thieves to sell metal without proper ID.
He said: “There are places where you can take the metal and get it weighed in for cash without needed photo identification or proof of where it came from.
“No wonder people steal it, if you couldn’t sell it on without proper documents I don’t think there would be as much of a problem.”
Last Thursday thieves stole lead from the roof of the Pelham Lodge Hotel. It is the second raid on the General Street guest house this week.
Owner Malcolm Price said: “This needs highlighting, I can’t believe how much lead has been stolen in such a short space of time.
“I’m furious people think they can get away with it – it costs hundreds of pounds to replace and people don’t have that sort of cash.
“I noticed on Tuesday morning some lead had gone missing and on Thursday they must have come back for the rest.
“At least I noticed the lead had been removed, it’s when people don’t realise and rain gets in the costs rocket.”
A Blackpool Police spokesman said: “The stealing of lead is a national issue and not just restricted to Blackpool. A number of investigations are ongoing and arrests have been made and suspects bailed pending further inquiries.
“Trades people can take measurers to reduce the risk of having metal stolen by keeping their materials locked and secure when not in use.
“Should anyone have any information then we would ask them to call us on (01253) 293933.”