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CCTV captures forklift truck raiders causing £50k damage at business - WATCH

By Doug Wootton | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published:

Thieves took advantage of a road closure in a planned attack, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage at a business.

CCTV images show the raid and, right, boss Paddy Kumar

The five-strong gang snipped the phone and internet supply running into Branded Housewares, off the Bilston Road in Wolverhampton, before cutting the CCTV camera cables.

The thieves gained entry by cutting through the plastic corrugated roof and then hot-wired forklift trucks, using them to smash through shutters and walls in an attempt to break into safes on the property.

The group, who thought they had cut all the CCTV camera cables, failed to spot one in the corner of the warehouse which caught their actions on film as they tried to force open a safe, ramming a forklift truck into it multiple times.

WATCH: Thieves ram safe with forklift truck

Thieves ram a safe with forklift truck

After failing to make progress, they left and went onto target three other units on the 600m length industrial estate, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in the process.

The raid took place in the early hours of Sunday, when the usually continuously busy Bilston Road was closed for maintenance work by Midland Metro.

Midland Metro security guards were believed to be patrolling the area whilst the closure was in place and business owners have hit out at the lack of protection their businesses had during the maintenance work.

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Pardeep Kumar, owner of Branded Housewares, who found his business trashed on Monday morning, couldn't believe the needless devastation caused by the thieves.

Paddy Kumar is shocked over the damage to his business

The 50-year-old added: "It's cost us £50,000 worth of damage. All five cameras have been cut which cost over £50,000 to install originally, the shutters cost thousands to replace that they've smashed through – there was no need to smash through all of them.

"Then there's forklifts, the damaged safe, the roof, sorting all the clipped cables and putting additional security in.

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"Meanwhile I have all this stock worth millions of pounds, not properly secured.

"It's clearly very well planned but all this was for a safe they were trying to break into which had £500 in petty cash and keys for the buildings."

A Midland Metro spokesman said: "The MMA were made aware of an incident which occurred over the weekend on Bilston Road and have been liaising with the retailer in question since notification of the event.

"There are staff working for the MMA at Bilston Road 24/7, and residents and retailers in the area are able to contact the Engagement Team with any concerns or queries at any time of the day or night."

The firm was last broken into two-and-a-half years ago when railway maintenance was on-going, with no trains passing, giving the thieves the chance to get in the rear of the property.

Paddy Kumar, from Branded Houswares, pictured by the damaged sky light

Mr Kumar added: "We've had break-ins in the past, and we've upped the security and we thought we'd seen an end to it, spent thousands on it, there's not much more you can do.

"We never thought we'd have a break-in from the side of the main road and within hours of it being closed we get this.

"I don't see how security couldn't notice a cable which has been clearly clipped on the side of the building. The Metro security were supposed to be patrolling the area.

"It's just another case of us having no support, the police didn't seem bothered, the council never help us with grants we apply for.

"I employ 32 people here, we have no debt, employ people locally and we're self made company from Wolverhampton.

Paddy Kumar, from Branded Houswares, with one of the damaged roller shutters at his business

"If this carries on happening and we get no support – I'm thinking why bother? I'll just give up, build houses on it and sell it for a few million. But we're a strong business and I don't want it to come to that."

Branded Housewares, has four warehouses on the site and £5 million worth of homeware stock including kettles, irons, toaster's, vacuums and is the returns and repair agents for multiple brands.

They specialise in the wholesale export of large quantities of home electrical appliance stock, selling mainly to Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe and have been at the site in Wolverhampton since 2001.

Doug Wootton

By Doug Wootton
Wolverhampton Reporter - @_DougWootton

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