Penarth Council was told last night that there has been a “big spike” in cases of theft from motor cars in the last few days – with Queen’s Road in the St Augustines Ward being named as one of the locations by local police.
On Tuesday night (Feb 2nd) thefts from no fewer than 11 cars were reported to Penarth police. There had also been a spate of thefts from vehicles on Saturday January 30th and Sunday January 31st.
The information was revealed to councillors at last night’s meeting of Penarth Town Council when the Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines), invited Sergeant Wayne Lock to make his regular presentation of crime figures to the first council meeting of the year. *
Sgt Lock was answering questions from Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) Cllr Ernest had complimented the police on what had initially appeared to be low car crime figures for December 2015 and January 2016.
Sgt Lock then clarified the position – detailing the spike in thefts from cars which has taken place in Penarth since January 30th this year.Sgt Lock told councillors he was hoping for an early arrest and that they would recover the stolen property.
[PDN readers may have already gathered there was something up. Last night’s information given by Sgt Lock to the council followed earlier comments made by two PDN commentators on Tuesday this week . “Ivor Bagman” had commented on PDN that he had heard that 5 cars had been broken into on February 1st whilst another commentator “Eyes and Ears” had reported 2 cars having been broken into. There was speculation that these crimes might be linked with a former prison inmate who had returned to Penarth]
OTHER CRIME :
SEX CRIME: A single sexual offence reported in January, Sgt Lock said, had led to the investigation of a number other reported incidents (6 in all) the majority of which were domestic.
DRUGS CRIME : A tip-off from a “member of the community” last month had led to the discovery of a “cannabis factory” . Police executed a drug search warrant which had produced a “large yield”. [ This was an alleged crime originally alluded-to in Monday’s St Augustine’s PACT meeting] .
VIOLENCE: The Christmas/New Year period also produced an increase in crimes involving violence in Penarth – details of which appear on the tables below. Sgt Lock explained to Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) that domestic incidents amongst crimes of violence now include not only common assault, bruises and scratches but also include bullying by text, phone or on-line where no physical contact is involved. “Violence to the person” is a category within the overall figures for violent crime .
SHOPLIFTING : Sgt Lock said shoplifting had been relatively low in December (10 offences ) – during a special police operation – but had risen in January (15 offences). He said the problem was exacerbated by shops placing “desirables” in the front of the stores. Shoplifters walked in and grabbed items such as meat or alcohol in particular. Food was often stolen to fund drug use.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said he understood that items like razor blades were now being kept behind the counter at Boots because of the very high prices. Sgt Lock said that razor blade thefts and meat thefts were often an indicator of heroin and Class A drug use.
Cllr Wilson also raised against the issue of cars parking on green coned-off areas outside Victoria Primary School of which he is a governor and asked for more patrols by PCSOs. Sgt Lock said that currently his officers had a “heavy presence” at Sully Primary School where there was a particular problem with motorists. He was liaising with all local schools about their “parking plans” and said that St Cyres School “did not have one“.
Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) said there had been no recent PACT (police-community liaison) meeting in the Cornerswell Ward for some time and asked for these to be resumed.
PENARTH CRIME FIGURES FOR JANUARY 2015 (with December 2015 figures in brackets_
- Burglary 1 (6)
- Burglary other 2 (0)
- Criminal damage 2 (5)
- Drugs 2 (1)
- Other offences 1 (1)
- Other Theft (shoplifting) 15 (10)
- Sexual Offence 6 (1)
- Theft from Motor Vehicle 3 (4)
- Theft of Motor Vehicle 0 (0)
- Damage to Motor vehicle 3 (6)
- Violence against the Person 10 (16)
- Hate Crime 0 (0)
*Last night’s Penarth Town Council meeting was the first to be held this year as none had been held in January.
Amongst the councillors attending last night’s meeting was Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour, Stanwell) making her first attendance at a council meeting since September 2nd 2015.
Prior to September 2015, Cllr Courtney hadn’t attended any meetings of Penarth Town Council since March 3rd 2015. The law says any councillor who fails to attend any meeting of their council throughout a period of six consecutive months “will cease to be a member of the authority”.
Cllr Amber Courtney – who had a baby in May 2015 – did not speak at last night’s meeting. Cllr Courtney’s poor record of attending Penarth Council and committee meetings was first highlighted in a PDN investigation in November 2014 ( http://tinyurl.com/nah8p8m). She had, by then, missed 99 meetings of the council and its committees in the period from May 2012 (when the Labour Party took control of Penarth Town Council ) to November 2014 and already had the second-worst attendance record on the council.
In September 2015 Penarth Town Council had convened an Extra-Ordinary meeting to consider a formal report on Cllr Amber Courtney by the Town Clerk entitled “Vacation of Office by Failure to Attend Meetings “. As Cllr Courtney had turned-up for that September meeting no further action was taken.