Suspected thieves caught in the act by E&S photographer

It appeared to be a completely innocent scene of two workmen battling against the elements on their normal day-to-day job.

Suspected thieves donned high-visibility vests to take equipment in Walsall
Suspected thieves donned high-visibility vests to take equipment in Walsall

But this picture, taken by the Express & Star, actually caught two suspected thieves in the act. Police believe bogus workmen donned fluorescent yellow jackets and stole £3,500 worth of machinery being used for roadworks on Broadway North, Walsall.

However, they were snapped by our photographer while he was out capturing images of snowy scenes. And when the picture appeared in the paper, it emerged the men were suspected thieves believed to have stolen a hydraulic breaker. The theft happened at around 6am on Monday last week when up to 3in of snow fell overnight and the temperature hit -2C. Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for information about the theft.

It comes as up to £120,000 worth of improvements are being carried out around the busy road. Contractors for Walsall Council, Jordan Road Surfacing, had a vehicle parked on Broadway North at the junction with Gillity Avenue. It was put in a secure fenced area but when workmen returned to work on the Monday they saw it had been pulled open and part of the vehicle, a hydraulic breaker valued at £3,500, had been stolen.

A member of staff at Jordan was reading the Walsall edition of the Express & Star on February 11 when he saw the photograph.

Pc Grant Dixon, from Bloxwich police station, said today: “I would urge anyone who recognises the pair, or the men themselves, to come forward and speak to us.”

Express & Star Executive Editor Mark Drew added: “We are happy if by printing this picture we have helped police in their investigations.”