Gang suspected of being behind £70k thefts is smashed

A GANG suspected of breaking into 50 garden sheds in west Edinburgh and making off with £70,000 of bikes and other property has been smashed by police.

The gang had been operating since December last year, with Swanston, Greenbank, Hunters Tryst, Morningside, Bonaly, Craiglockhart and Dreghorn among the areas targeted.

Now four people have been arrested and charged in connection with the crime spree and £15,000 worth of bikes, bicycle parts and other items have been recovered.

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Police are now working to reunite owners with their property as officers today warned shed owners to be on their guard against thieves.

The force is advising owners to buy discounted shed alarms at police stations and invest in “good quality” padlocks.

Officers also recommended filling in the heads of screws on hinges as thieves will often remove the whole door to gain entry.

The four males, aged 16, 16, 20 and 25, were charged in connection with the break-ins, and a report is set to be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Following their arrest, Detective Inspector Gordon McCreadie said: “At this time I would urge homeowners to make sure the security of their sheds and garages is up to standard, and if they choose to store their bikes within, then take measures to secure their bike to the structure.”

Pc Bob Maloney, from Wester Hailes police station, has been working to promote security for sheds in the west of the Capital. He said: “You will usually see more than one shed in an area broken into on one night. Thieves will typically target a few at the same time so anyone who lives in streets where they are large numbers of sheds should look at their security.”

Pc Maloney and other officers worked to tackle shed break-ins in the wake of the spike in raids since Christmas.

He added: “We’ve held events at supermarkets where we offer the public shed alarms for £10, which is a good discount. These alarms can still be bought at the police stations at Wester Hailes, Balerno and Oxgangs”

He added: “We recommend bolstering security by using a quality padlock on a shed and “no return” screws or coach bolts, including on the hinges.

“If the shed has windows then an internal metal grill or net curtains can be installed to prevent thieves “window 

“Another good idea is to thread a length of cable between items and secure it to the frame of the shed. Adding visible security markings on to property will also deter thieves.

“The main precaution to take is not to store valuable items in your shed in the first place.”