Police on the hunt for gang who have stolen safes from at least FIVE Wigan businesses

Police are hunting a brazen gang who break into Wigan businesses and steal their safes.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 9:20 am
Thieves rummaging around Lean Kitchen

The yobs, who also cause a lot of criminal damage, are thought to have struck at least five times, sometimes stealing thousands of pounds, sometimes being less lucky and taking little of value.

More than once they have been caught on CCTV which show they are prepared to spend a long time trying to prise the secure boxes from their moorings but also childishly leave a trail of mess.

On the night of Saturday October 12 they broke into JW Ratcliffe Recovery Services on Low Bank Road, Ashton, and were captured on camera lugging the 500kg safe down the street.

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Allan Barlow, owner of The Lean Kitchen

There was no money in it though and the container was later found - broken open and minus some keys that were being kept inside - in fields in Aughton, West Lancashire.

But two hours after the Ashton raid, the gang turned its attention to The Lean Kitchen eatery on Brook Street, Pemberton.

Smashing a window down the side of the premises, five people climbed inside and spent 10 minutes wrenching at the safe which was bolted to the floor.

They didn’t seem in any rush and two of the intruders began an infantile game of throwing eggs around the restaurant.

Thieves rummaging around Lean Kitchen

Eventually they left with the safe containing around £2,000 in takings plus cash stolen from the till.

Astonishingly the cameras pick them up returning to the Lean Kitchen at 3.15pm at which point they stole its entire stock of protein bars which they stuffed into bags they had brought back with them.

Police have told bosses of these businesses that they are not alone in having been hit by a safe gang. In fact The Presidential Bar in Ashton town centre has been the subject of three raids.

Management there could not be contacted.

Thieves rummaging around Lean Kitchen

But the owner of The Lean Kitchen said, Allan Barlow, said: “We seem to be the victims of a serial safe gang.

“The break-in was very distressing and hugely inconvenient. In a way the worst of it was the mess they caused with the eggs. I must commend all the staff who came in to clean up on the Sunday so we could re-open for business.

“Also annoyingly, this is the second time we have been burgled in six months. We’d only just got over that.

“After the first raid we improved security - they had stolen our CCTV - and changed quite a lot around but obviously not enough. Further improvements are now being brought in to prevent any further such crimes.

“This break-in is partly covered by insurance but only up to £1,000.

“It’s not a good feeling, thinking that these people have been on your premises. A lot of the behaviour is quite childish which perhaps suggests the gang members aren’t that old.”