Braintree: Pensioner blames lead thefts on street light blackout

Braintree and Witham Times: Braintree: Pensioner blames lead thefts on street light blackout Braintree: Pensioner blames lead thefts on street light blackout

A pensioner who had lead stolen from her shed roof twice in under a week has criticised the decision to switch out Braintree’s street lights.

Thieves first stripped lead cladding from the shed in Stephenson Road, Braintree, overnight between November 29 and 30, before returning to steal the rest a few days later.

It is thought they clambered on top of a post box and up onto a garden wall in neighbouring Orchard Drive to access the roof.

In total, about 16ft of the metal was taken, while some damage was also caused to the wall.

The victim, a 73-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named because of concerns about repercussions, claims Essex County Council’s decision to switch out the town’s street lights at night is having an impact on crime.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “There is no evidence that part-night lighting affects crime levels, however, if the police identify a significant increase in crime due to the introduction of the scheme we have agreed to revert back to full-night lighting in these areas."

Comments (2)

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5:49pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

It doesn't have an impact on crime! Thieves like empty houses in day light. THis has been proved time and time again.

WE do not know when this was stripped - was it at night when the lights were still on? It's only midnight to 5 when the lights are off - not dusk.
It doesn't have an impact on crime! Thieves like empty houses in day light. THis has been proved time and time again. WE do not know when this was stripped - was it at night when the lights were still on? It's only midnight to 5 when the lights are off - not dusk. Jack222

9:19am Sun 15 Dec 13

OMPITA [Intl] says...

Please allow me to share some thoughts on this subject.

I can understand this lady’s apprehension about the switching off of street lights and her fears that it might be a factor associated with the theft of lead from her shed’s roof. I am minded to think however that she could well be somewhat misguided.

I am not a burglar (honest!). I am sure I have many failings, but I do not fit into that category. However, having tried to put myself in the mind of one of that despicable breed, I have consulted that well known ‘Burglars Planning Guide’ AKA ‘Google Earth’ and I note some very important aspects apposite to my pre-crime planning preparations.

The garden in question where the shed is located is conveniently shielded from public view by a wall that is 23 bricks high (i.e. about 5ft 7in tall). I am confident therefore that I could go about my nefarious business behind this wall with virtually zero risk of being seen by a passer-bye who happened to be walking along the adjacent footpath in Orchard Drive.

I note to my considerable concern however that the garden in question looks to be what I might describe as being ‘somewhat busy’. Amongst other indistinct objects there appears to be a green-house inconveniently situated just by the point where I would plan to drop down from the roof of the shed (or shelter?) which I plan to clamber onto from the top of the post box. The last thing I want to do is blunder around in complete darkness at the risk of breaking green-house windows or noisily kicking over other unseen objects that might be cluttering the area.

I definitely need some degree of light in order to safely carry out my mission. The last thing I want is to have to carry a torch or lantern as that would be a dead give-away to anyone who happened to glance out of a rear window of the property. I’d be rumbled straightaway for sure – plus I need both hands free in any case.

Two street lights are situated just 69 and 79 feet away from the target shed. There is no need for any trigonometry to confirm that they don’t directly illuminate my intended working area as it is fairly evident from just going into ‘Street View’ and noting the positions of the street lights relative to the back garden area that they won’t place me in the ‘spotlight’. What I can reasonably be confident of however is that a long as the street lights are on they will provide a low level of residual illumination just right to enable me to go about my task in the shadows.

Perfect conditions –as long as the street lights don’t suddenly switch off!

Regarding timing. This is very important in order to minimise the chance of being apprehended.

Midnight to 5.00am is a definite ‘No No!’ Not only because of the aforesaid concerns about absence of street lighting, but also because the paucity of other road traffic during those hours. I fear that my vehicle would be far more likely to attract the curiosity of the local ‘gendarmerie’ at that time of day. I wouldn’t fancy having to explain why I had a load of lead cladding under a blanket on the back seat of my car after I had been pulled over for a routine stop at the bottom of Rose Hill at around 3:00am!

So how about the hours before midnight? Well it’s got to be after sunset so therefore I can’t start before 16:30 at the absolute earliest. But there are likely to be kids around in the street until at least 9:00 pm and adults until after pub shutting time so realistically I should keep clear until 11:00pm. Even after 11:00pm I fear the prospect of back doors being opened to allow cross legged moggies and pooches out for their last ‘comfort break’ of the day - and I certainly don’t want to attract the noisy attention of an indignant Fido who takes exception to finding me encroaching upon his territory.

So, after all that I reckon the optimum time for carrying out this dodgy deed has to be between 11:40pm and 11:55pm. Just the right time to quietly park alongside the garden wall, hop up onto the post box, sneak along the shed roof, drop down into the garden, peel the lead off the roof, quietly drop it over the wall, climb over myself, pick up the loot, into the car and away. Should be all ‘done & dusted’ in about 4 minutes.
Please allow me to share some thoughts on this subject. I can understand this lady’s apprehension about the switching off of street lights and her fears that it might be a factor associated with the theft of lead from her shed’s roof. I am minded to think however that she could well be somewhat misguided. I am not a burglar (honest!). I am sure I have many failings, but I do not fit into that category. However, having tried to put myself in the mind of one of that despicable breed, I have consulted that well known ‘Burglars Planning Guide’ AKA ‘Google Earth’ and I note some very important aspects apposite to my pre-crime planning preparations. The garden in question where the shed is located is conveniently shielded from public view by a wall that is 23 bricks high (i.e. about 5ft 7in tall). I am confident therefore that I could go about my nefarious business behind this wall with virtually zero risk of being seen by a passer-bye who happened to be walking along the adjacent footpath in Orchard Drive. I note to my considerable concern however that the garden in question looks to be what I might describe as being ‘somewhat busy’. Amongst other indistinct objects there appears to be a green-house inconveniently situated just by the point where I would plan to drop down from the roof of the shed (or shelter?) which I plan to clamber onto from the top of the post box. The last thing I want to do is blunder around in complete darkness at the risk of breaking green-house windows or noisily kicking over other unseen objects that might be cluttering the area. I definitely need some degree of light in order to safely carry out my mission. The last thing I want is to have to carry a torch or lantern as that would be a dead give-away to anyone who happened to glance out of a rear window of the property. I’d be rumbled straightaway for sure – plus I need both hands free in any case. Two street lights are situated just 69 and 79 feet away from the target shed. There is no need for any trigonometry to confirm that they don’t directly illuminate my intended working area as it is fairly evident from just going into ‘Street View’ and noting the positions of the street lights relative to the back garden area that they won’t place me in the ‘spotlight’. What I can reasonably be confident of however is that a long as the street lights are on they will provide a low level of residual illumination just right to enable me to go about my task in the shadows. Perfect conditions –as long as the street lights don’t suddenly switch off! Regarding timing. This is very important in order to minimise the chance of being apprehended. Midnight to 5.00am is a definite ‘No No!’ Not only because of the aforesaid concerns about absence of street lighting, but also because the paucity of other road traffic during those hours. I fear that my vehicle would be far more likely to attract the curiosity of the local ‘gendarmerie’ at that time of day. I wouldn’t fancy having to explain why I had a load of lead cladding under a blanket on the back seat of my car after I had been pulled over for a routine stop at the bottom of Rose Hill at around 3:00am! So how about the hours before midnight? Well it’s got to be after sunset so therefore I can’t start before 16:30 at the absolute earliest. But there are likely to be kids around in the street until at least 9:00 pm and adults until after pub shutting time so realistically I should keep clear until 11:00pm. Even after 11:00pm I fear the prospect of back doors being opened to allow cross legged moggies and pooches out for their last ‘comfort break’ of the day - and I certainly don’t want to attract the noisy attention of an indignant Fido who takes exception to finding me encroaching upon his territory. So, after all that I reckon the optimum time for carrying out this dodgy deed has to be between 11:40pm and 11:55pm. Just the right time to quietly park alongside the garden wall, hop up onto the post box, sneak along the shed roof, drop down into the garden, peel the lead off the roof, quietly drop it over the wall, climb over myself, pick up the loot, into the car and away. Should be all ‘done & dusted’ in about 4 minutes. OMPITA [Intl]

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