MARLOW’S top policeman has reassured residents after a two high profile smash and grab raids on businesses in the space of three days.
Inspector Scott Messenger insists a special force-wide team is working on the case after Sainsbury’s on West Street BP petrol station and were hit on Thursday and Monday respectively.
Both break-ins happened in the early hours of the morning, with thieves taking cigarettes and scratch cards before fleeing the scene.
And Insp. Messenger said though determined criminals from far afield will always have targets in their sights, Marlow is well equipped as a town to catch the culprits of these crimes.
He said: "This sort of crime is a real problem and that’s why we have a force wide team looking at these type of offences.
"Fortunately crime rates in Marlow remain lower than they have been for a long time, but clearly there are organised crime groups who will travel a long way to carry out these [types of] crimes.
"We are doing high visibility patrols to reassure the public, but considering the time these offences took place we can’t have officers on every street corner 24/7.
"But if you look at similar size towns across the Thames Valley, Marlow is quite well set up in terms on ANPR and CCTV, we are quite well off in that area."
Thieves broke into Sainsbury’s on West Street at 2.30am on Thursday, May 8, using what police described as a heavy object.
The culprits stole a large quantity of cigarettes before fleeing in a silver car.
And at about 4am on Monday morning, police say four men used tools to break through the security shutter of the BP petrol station in Little Marlow Road at about 4am.
Once inside they grabbed a quantity of scratch cards and cigarettes before fleeing the scene in a Volkswagen Golf, officers said.
Police have not confirmed if they believe the two crimes are linked. Marlow has seen several smash and grab raids on business premises over the last few months.
The Esso garage on Little Marlow Road was hit in November, with cigarettes taken after the front door was smashed.
And High Street clothes shop YEUK was targeted over the New Year break, with thieves stealing thousands of pounds worth of jeans, hats and sunglasses.
Despite the high-profile crimes, Marlow has seen a drop in burglaries on businesses in recent years.
The latest figures show ‘non-dwelling burglaries’ fell 25 per cent last year in the Marlow Neighbourhood policing area, from 159 last year to 119 in 2013/14.
However, Insp. Messenger claims the town’s location is unfortunate in terms of the accessibility for organised criminals.
He said: "Fortunately crime rates in Marlow remain lower than they have been for a long time
"The problem Marlow has is it is easily accessible to the bypass and M4. It is unfortunately placed for this and has some targets easily reached.
"Distance wise it may be quite a way to travel but to the organised criminal it is an attractive prospect.
"We always do what we can but there will always be those who target certain places."
- Benjamin Brazil, 27, of Lily Drive, West Drayton, was charged by police on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit non-dwelling burglary.
The charge is in connection with the BP petrol station raid and four others on shops in the Thames Valley, including a Co-op store in Chalfont St Giles and the AM-PM store in Denham.