Express & Star

Criminals getting 'free rein' in city, says councillor after his car is stolen

Criminals are being given a 'free rein' to operate in Wolverhampton, said a city councillor after his car was stolen.


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Councillor Simon Bennett said his car was stolen within minutes of him arriving at a friend's house in the Penn area of the city.

Councillor Bennett said thieves knew they had little chance of being apprehended since police stations around the city had closed.

He called on police and crime commissioner Simon Foster to press for the reopening of community police bases, and to also apply to the Home Office for funding to install automated number-plate recognition (ANPR) cameras on all routes out of the city.

Councillor Bennett, deputy leader of Wolverhampton Council's opposition Conservative group, said his black Jaguar XJ was stolen while he was visiting a friend in Woodhall Road, Upper Penn, at about 7.30pm on Monday.

"I was only in his house for 10 minutes," said Councillor Bennett.

"Fortunately, my wallet, personal effects and my house keys were thrown out of the car and were found in another road around the corner about 15 minutes later, so it is just the car that is missing."

He said the number of police officers in Wolverhampton had risen since Labour's police and crime commissioner Simon Foster was elected.

But he said the closure of police stations meant that the officers were often in the wrong places.

"It seems that criminals have a free rein, and can do whatever they want, and there's nothing we can do about it," he said. "In Wolverhampton we see it all the time, cars are being stolen all the while.

"At the moment, the police are concentrated in Bushbury, so if you live in Tettenhall, Penn or Merry Hill, you have got no chance.

"We need to go back to having police in community buildings, like the old Tettenhall police station and the Merry Hill flats, as they were previously."

Councillor Bennett, who represents Bushbury North, said police were now looking for CCTV footage. He said it appeared the thieves had arrived in a blue Ford Focus.