Angry residents in a Doncaster village say they might set up a ‘vigilante’ group after thieves raided eight businesses in just six weeks.
Several business owners in Armthorpe say they do not feel police are doing enough to crack down on the spate of break-ins – with some claiming they now want to take justice into their ‘own hands.’
But police have assured locals they will act – and should not take matters into their own hands under any circumstances.
Since the beginning of last month, the Barnardos charity shop and Co-operative Funeral Care in Mill Street; Fish’n’Fings pet shop, The Derek Williams Hairdressing Salon and the Ashoka Indian restaurant in Doncaster Road; RS Beds, DMA Armthorpe and Barclays bank in Church Street have all been broken into.
Four of the raids took place this week alone.
An Armthorpe business owner, who does not want to be named, said his property has also been burgled in the last week and say police have still not been out to collect CCTV.
He said: “It’s getting to be a joke now. They didn’t come for my CCTV, and they haven’t been out for the CCTV from a number of businesses in the area.
“People have been getting frustrated and there’s been a lot of talk on social media about setting up vigilante groups to protect our property because police aren’t going to do it.
“We never see police around here and to be honest I don’t think that’s going too far.
“I think a vigilante group fair enough – if police aren’t going to stop them from breaking-in then someone’s got to try to do something.”
South Yorkshire Police Inspector Mark Payling said under no circumstances should members of the public consider setting up a vigilante group.
He said: “We know that people are frustrated and we do understand that, but they need to make sure that they report incidents to police and trust that we will act.
“We are aware of a spike in the number of burglaries in the Armthorpe area over the last week, and we are looking at putting additional patrols in place.
“We urge members of the public to remain vigilant and to send in details of all crimes and of anyone who looks suspicious.”
Bob Needham, owner of Fish’n’Fings, which was has been the target of a burglary and an attempted burglary, says he thinks the problem is being caused by police shortages.
He said: “There just aren’t enough officers. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been told that they have just four officers to cover Armthorpe, Thorne, Moorends, Rossington and Wheatley.
“How can they expect that number of officers to cover a space that large? There’s just no point. They’ve taken £1,150 in cash from me and still they came back for more because they knew they weren’t going to be punished. There’s no deterrent.
“I think Doncaster Council should be helping business owners in the area by installing CCTV near to our parade of shops to put burglars off.”
A spokesman for Doncaster Council said: “We have become aware of a reported increase in burglaries at commercial premises in Armthorpe and this is clearly a concern to the council and our key partners.
“Whilst there is no public CCTV system currently installed in the Armthorpe area, we are aware that it is a powerful deterrent to prevent and reduce crime.
“Responding to concerns from the public and the business sector we will work with them to consider the installation of a temporary CCTV camera system and we will also increase our visibility in the local area using our mobile CCTV vehicles operated by the Neighbourhood Response Team.”