ESSEX: Vandals attack parked vehicles in Saffron Walden crime spree

PUBLISHED: 14:28 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 22:11 31 May 2010

A SPREE of criminal damage in Saffron Walden could have put lives at risk after people drove their cars without realising their tyres had been slashed. Since last Sunday police have had reports of 16 cars parked in the town-centre area being subjected to

A SPREE of criminal damage in Saffron Walden could have put lives at risk after people drove their cars without realising their tyres had been slashed.

Since last Sunday police have had reports of 16 cars parked in the town-centre area being subjected to acts of "mindless vandalism in the extreme".

A number of high-performance vehicles, including an Audi TT and a Porsche Boxter, have been hit and many have had all four tyres punctured.

Sgt Lindsay Beckman from Saffron Walden Police Station said that thousands of pounds worth of damage had been caused to different vehicles in the space of week.

"Some of these drivers were unaware of the damage and had commenced journeys with their young children to school on flat tyres," she said. "Fortunately no collisions or accidents have occurred."

The spree started overnight last Sunday (March 14) in Castle Street and has since spread to the neighbouring streets of Myddlyton Place, Gibson Gardens, Gibson Close, Gibson Way and Station Street.

Saffron Walden town councillor, Richard Freeman, said: "Most people have had to pay around £100 per replacement tyre, and with about 30 tyres ruined that's around £3000 of criminal damage.

"The value of the time lost to the owners could at least double the cost, especially to those who work for themselves.

"The police have reacted well to the incidents, but it is difficult to see what they can do. These crimes occurred in the small hours - when most of our town is in darkness. The county council needs to reconsider its policy of turning off 70 per cent of the town's lighting between midnight and 5am, instead of rolling it out all over Essex."

Uttlesford Youth Team (UYT), which is run by officers from Saffron Walden, has now launched an appeal for information, aimed particularly at young people, through their page on Facebook.

It says: "Absolutely no benefit is being conferred to any persons and we're all having to pay for this damage through our insurance premiums, so if you have any information about this matter then please contact us on 0300 333 4444 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. UYT can be emailed at uyt@essex.pnn.police.uk.

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