Thieves steal knockers, letterboxes and bells from 21 Leicester homes
Thieves have stolen door-knockers, letterboxes and bells from 21 homes in the past week.
Police believe the brass fittings – which appear to have been taken in the early hours – were stolen for their scrap value.
The thefts, in the Clarendon Park, London Road and Stoneygate areas of Leicester, appear to be the latest twist to a crime which has seen thieves steal everything from playground slides to heavy industrial equipment.
Clarendon Park resident Fiona Harris discovered her doorbell missing on Thursday morning. She said: "It's a sorry state of affairs when people are prepared to come right up to your front door and unscrew your bell.
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"I know three other people this happened to on the same night, so it seems the thieves have targeted this area. It seems so pointless, but the police said the thieves would make money from selling the brass, so I suppose it makes sense."
Charity Shelter Housing Aid and Research in Welford Road, in the city centre, was also targeted. Its chief executive Dave Brazier said: "They came along and took two letterboxes which date back to the 1930s, perhaps even further back. They can't have been there long because they just ripped them off the front door. That must have required considerable force.
"We're a charity and it will cost us £200 to £300 to repair the door because of the damage – and that's if we don't have to replace the door all together.
"We are in a busy and well-lit area of the city and it happened to us. It's very easy for them to do this to people's homes in more secluded areas."
David Stevens, whose family owns Stevens Metal Company, in Overton Road, Leicester, said legitimate scrapyards had CCTV cameras trained on people who approach them to sell scrap. He said: "We have cameras and we ask for identification before we deal with anyone. Any legitimate dealer would call the police if they were approached by anyone trying to sell these items.
"The price of lead has come down quite a bit, while brass and copper are still high. That might explain these thefts."
A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: "In the past seven days we've had 21 crime reports in relation to thefts of brass letter-boxes, door-knobs and door-bells. We'd encourage people, especially scrap metal dealers, to contact us if they are approached by anyone offering to sell these items.
"Crime prevention is difficult in this case, but we would urge people to consider installing security lighting and boundary gates if possible."
Information can be passed to police in 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.