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Villa Park tops list of thefts at stadiums

Wolverhampton | Sport | Published:

Mobile phones, cash, debit cards and number plates have been stolen from fans at West Midland football grounds, figures showed today.

Aston Villa saw more complaints of thefts at their stadium than any other West Midlands side in the last three years.

In total, 21 incidents were recorded by the county's police force at Villa Park – which holds almost 43,000 fans – since 2010.

In contrast, Molineux – the home of Wolves – which has a capacity of 31,700 – saw just seven recorded offences between 2010 and 2014.

The home of Wolves

West Bromwich Albion's The Hawthorns and Birmingham City's ground St Andrews saw 18 thefts each, while Walsall's the Banks's Stadium saw 16, despite having the lowest capacity (11,300) of the five clubs.

Mobile phones were the most stolen item with 33 swiped from the five football grounds in four years.

Cash was reported being stolen nine times, as well as seven credit and debit cards and five sat navs.

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West Midlands Police spokeswoman Catherine Hickman said: "West Midlands Police works closely with stadium management at each of the region's football clubs to ensure that people attending matches and using the club's facilities are as safe and secure as possible on matchdays.

"Clubs employ stewards to provide security as required at stadiums and should a crime occur then police investigate accordingly – similar to the relationship between security staff and police at other privately owned public spaces, such as cinemas or shopping centres.

"Thefts recorded at stadiums can also relate to incidents which happen on the club's grounds, such as at stores or in hospitality areas.

"Football supporters are always urged to be mindful of their personal security to keep themselves and their belongings safe and out of sight. Equally, when parking, fans should remove valuables from view.

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"Local police regularly carry out crime prevention operations in areas surrounding football stadiums, concert venues and exhibition centres across the region to give crime prevention advice."

Some of the other items taken from football stadiums were a trailer, a VCR, an MP3 player, licence plates, a motor cycle, a car and a travel ticket.

Banks's Stadium

In 2010/11 the Banks's Stadium saw the highest number of recorded thefts with eight.

The following year The Hawthorns and St Andrews saw the joint most stolen items with six each.

There were also six recorded thefts at Villa Park in 2012/13 and eight in 2013/14. It was the only stadium that has seen a rise in thefts over the last four years. Aston Villa declined to comment on the figures.

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