Gang targets tools in factory raid

Jay Salisbury, TVR Buildings, Bristol Avenue, Bispham.
Jay Salisbury, TVR Buildings, Bristol Avenue, Bispham.
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THIEVES smashed their way through a brick wall at Blackpool’s former TVR factory as two more businesses fell victim to an alarming crime spree.

Once again thousands of pounds worth of power tools were the target for raiders who struck at the famous old premises on Bristol Avenue, Bispham, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Jay Salisbury Equipment Hire and MJT Cars are the latest businesses to be targeted in a series of raids which have led police to step up a special operation in a bid to catch the thieves.

After smashing their way in through an exterior wall to get into the equipment hire business raiders then broke a window to enter the neighbouring garage.

Garage owner Mike Thorne said: “They have got in through a window and taken tools.

“They’ve taken a lot of hand tools. They are very expensive in the motor trade – they are worth thousands and thousands of pounds. It’s an expensive inconvenience to us.”

Jay Salisbury, who runs the equipment hire business, added: “They’ve actually come in through a brick wall.

“They have taken small items because we are pretty good with security and they have not been able to take anything big because they couldn’t get through any of the doors.

“But they’ve taken hand tools and power tools. The power tools are quite valuable.”

The thieves loaded up a bin with Snap On tools from six different boxes in the garage before escaping.

The break-ins were discovered at 8am on Tuesday. The disruption meant staff lost half a day’s work as police began their investigations.

And Mr Thorne added: “It was not very good to walk into.

“They’ve kicked a few internal doors and we have lost more than a days work because they’ve taken a lot of specialist tools so there are jobs we can’t do.”

The break-ins at the former TVR factory, which was split up into separate trading units after the sports car company went bust, come just a week after ramraiders attempted to smash their way into three businesses in Marton and Bispham to steal power tools.

Coun Don Clapham, a Bispham ward councillor, said he feared organised crime gangs could be behind the spate of thefts.

He added: “Tradesmen or businesses which have got power tools on the premises have really got to be vigilant in terms of security.

“It’s obvious there’s a gang out there targeting them and we need to make people very aware of that.

“They are the targets at the moment and there must be a market for the tools.”

Meanwhile, police have issued a warning to tradesmen across Fylde to ensure tools are not left in vans after thefts.

Operation Angel was launched in April after residents in Fylde repeatedly fell victim to crime after failing to lock homes and cars.

But it has now been stepped up after a spate of burglaries which have seen criminals smash their way into locked vans to steal valuable power tools.

Sgt Peter Hannon, of Fylde Police, said: “We have stepped up Operation Angel over the last couple of weeks and have been carrying out stop checks on suspicious vehicles that have been travelling through the area.

“Locked vehicles have recently been targeted because thieves know valuable tools have been left inside.”

Anyone with information about the raids and the theft of tools can contact Blackpool Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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