Online anger over Melton crime prompts public meeting with police

A large number of social media posts about criminal activity in Melton and threats by residents to set up vigilante groups has prompted a campaigner to set up a public meeting with police to discuss ways of tackling it.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:25 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 3:09 pm
Insp Siobhan Gorman, commander of Eastern Counties neighbourhood policing area covering Melton, Harborough and Rutland EMN-190901-102133001
Insp Siobhan Gorman, commander of Eastern Counties neighbourhood policing area covering Melton, Harborough and Rutland EMN-190901-102133001

Town resident Jaz Lynch-Bolton decided to act after seeing frustration boil over online following a wave of offences, including burglaries, thefts and criminal damage over the last few weeks.

She contacted Eastern Counties police commander for Melton, Insp Siobhan Gorman, who has agreed to set up a meeting where residents can highlight issues and find out what police are doing to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

Insp Gorman said that her officers were working hard to solve crimes in the area and she urged residents not to take the law into their own hands but instead report crimes to police to help them catch the offenders.

A VW Caddy Van which was soaked in paint stripper by vandals while parked in a Melton residential street EMN-190901-102703001

Speaking about her concerns to the Melton Times, Jaz said: “We’ve had so many burglaries, car thefts, car windows being smashed, vehicles being vandalised and people being seen in other people’s gardens in the last few weeks.

“It’s just one thing after another and the police don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

“There is even talk on social media of setting up vigilante groups in Melton which is insane because violence just breeds more violence.

“We need more police patrols to give residents the confidence that something is being done and we need to restore order in our lovely town.”

John Ferneley College will be the venue for the meeting and a date will be announced shortly.

The move follows just 15 months after Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole and police and crime commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, attended another public meeting in the wake of a spate of arson attacks on cars and burglaries of homes and businesses.

They explained that night that funding cuts had led to more than 500 officers being lost across the county since 2010.

However, residents have been paying a £1 extra a month this year to provide more money for police resources.

The Melton Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page has featured many comments from aggrieved householders who have been victims of crime before and after the festive season.

Jaz, who said 300 people had already confirmed they would attend the public meeting, said she had been burgled and had her car stolen in separate incidents in recent weeks and complained police were slow to respond and unable to solve the crimes.

“I am a mum-of-three and a foster carer and I try to teach children right from wrong but all of this crime is going to have a terrible effect on Melton youngsters - they will be thinking if they can get away with it then so can I,” she added.

Luke Miles was one of the recent victims of crime - vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage by throwing paint stripper over his VW Caddy Van while it was parked outside the family home in Tamar Road.

Every panel of the vehicle was damaged, along with two-thirds of the roof and a quote to repair the damage was around 7,000 pds.

His father, Paul, said: “There were cars parked all the way up the road that night and yet his van was the only one damaged.

“He was absolutely gutted because it was just senseless vandalism and it’s a lot of money for a 24-year-old to have to find.

“The police haven’t got anywhere so we are hoping someone witnessesed it and they will tell the police.

“I will certainly be going to this public meeting. I know the police are under a lot of pressure but I would like to see more foot patrols around the town to stop this sort of thing happening.”

Insp Gorman said; “We are aware that some residents in Melton Mowbray are worried about crime and policing in the town and have expressed those views on social media.

“We’d like to reassure residents that Melton is a safe place to live and work - figures show compared to last year there have been decreases in burglary, theft from motor vehicle and violent crime.

“We have, however, seen an increase in criminal damage and theft of motor vehicle - we are aware of this and are actively investigating these offences.

“There are teams of police officers and Police Community Support Officers who are patrolling the town and Vale of Belvoir every day and night working closely with the town’s CCTV operators and officers from other departments in the force.

“We’d urge residents not to take the law into their own hands but to report crime and suspicious behaviour to the police so that we can build up a true picture of the offences and help us find who is responsible.

“Before Christmas we arrested six people for burglary – two of them have been charged and are in jail the other four are still under investigation.

“I am happy to discuss all of this at a public meeting.”

Residents can email Insp Gorman at [email protected] to report any concerns they have about crime in the Melton area.