Thieves steal �300,00 haul from holiday park

SECURITY is being stepped up at a popular holiday park after shocking statistics revealed nearly �300,000 worth goods have been stolen by thieves.

Jonathan Schofield

SECURITY is being stepped up at a popular holiday park after shocking statistics revealed nearly �300,000 worth goods have been stolen by thieves.

In less than three months, �23,000 worth of goods have been stolen from holiday villas at Center Parcs in Elveden.

And that's in addition to the 350 bikes which have been stolen in just two years which police value at �272,603.

Last year, 218 bikes were taken despite holiday village bosses investing �150,000 in June to increase security.

That was an increase from the 144 bikes which were stolen from the holiday villlage in 2008 which caters for up to 300,000 visitors annually.

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Villas at Center Parcs have not been spared by the thieves who have raided dozens of the holiday homes in the past three months.

Since November 1 until yesterday police figures revealed that more than �23,000 of items had been stolen from villas.

This month alone 14 villas have been broken into plus two attempted burglaries.

Last weekend five iPods, three laptops, two digital cameras, four Nintendo DSs, two camcorders, a mobile phone and a quantity of cash was stolen from two villas. At the same time a man's blue mountain bike was stolen from outside a villa.

It was followed by an overnight raid on Tuesday targeting five villas where a number of similar items were stolen.

Simon Kay, public relations officer at Center Parcs, said the �150,000 was spent last June on security fencing, enhanced CCTV and increased patrols.

Speaking to the EADT yesterday, Mr Kay said Center Parcs was clearly being targeted by a gang of very determined thieves to which they were responding with a raft of increased security measures.

“In response to the recent break-ins we have tripled the number of security personnel patrolling the site, including officers with dogs, and we are continuing our fence line refurbishment programme. We will also be joint funding a Police Community Support Officer to act as a further deterrent,” he said.

Managers will be meeting with senior police officers on Monday to discuss an action plan to thwart the thieves.

Mr Kay added that the number of incidents remained small in comparison with the number of villas and the thousands of guests that stay in Elveden Forest each week.

Mildenhall Inspector Derek Wilding said they would continue to work with Center Parcs and were intent on doing all they could to tackle the problem.

He said: “A crime prevention survey has been conducted on the site and a number of recommendations were made to Center Parcs which are intended to enhance their current security arrangements,”

He added that officers were carrying out targeted patrols in and around the site to enhance security.

He urged anyone with information on the latest crimes at Center Parcs to call Brandon Police Station on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.