Police’s ‘slow response’ over wheelie bin gang

Published on: 13 Mar 2013

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Police’s ‘slow response’ over wheelie bin gang

A Filton woman says police were unable to respond when she saw suspected thieves - including a 12-year-old child - in the early hours with a large wheelie bin.

The resident, who has asked not to be identified, said she had been burgled a few years ago and the culprit had removed all the stolen items in a wheelie bin.

She said she found it "depressing" that police told her they were unable to come out immediately even though she was able to pinppont an address.

Police told Filtonvoice that although she did the right thing, there were nearly 40 "priority" calls at the time including assault and suicide incidents.

The woman, from Filton Park, said she was returning with friend from town at about 1.45am and spotted a woman and a child with a wheelie bin.

She said: "My friend who was driving spun round, pulled along side and asked if she was ok, the bin looked heavy, where was she going? She came out with a ridiculous story about ‘living under a bridge’ and that the bin bag had chicken in it for her dinner.  We drove off a little way a way and noticed that a man had joined her.

"We decided to ring the police and told them what we’d seen and where they had headed to. We followed them at a distance down to a road just off Southmead Rd, and we watched them walk down.

"The police took down the details asking if we were in any danger and thanked us for the call. A few minutes later we rang again to say it looked as if the woman, child and man had gone into a house.

"This time the police said they’d be unlikely to send someone out as it was Friday night. As we drove back up Southmead Road, we saw them again walking in the same direction - they’d obviously done a loop to see if we were still there. At this point the woman pulled up her sleeves and started running towards us. Needless to say we drove off.

  "It would have been reassuring to have had a better response from the police. Normal people do not walk the streets at two in the morning with a wheelie bin. They were clearly doing something suspicious.  

"If they were up to something, they would have been caught red-handed."

Police said the call was given priority but there were 39 other priority calls and 21 requiring immediate attendance in the Bristol and South Glos area between midnight and 3am.

These were for incidents including assault, suicide and missing people. As soon as there was an officer available, about an hour later they attended and searched the area but found no trace of the individuals.

Force Incident Manager Inspector Adam Crockford said: "This caller did exactly the right thing by reporting their suspicions to us and I hope they will do the same thing again in similar circumstances. We must give priority to incidents where people are at risk but the descriptions have been recorded and are very useful.

"We had no house burglaries reported in the area that night."

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