A SHOPKEEPER who has suffered an arson attack and vandalism at his Sheffield store today called on police to send more patrols to his area.
Stannington Hardware owner Les Ibbotson had his vehicle destroyed six weeks ago - having previously had the same van stolen and had windows smashed.
Mr Ibbotson, aged 59, who has run his store on Stannington Road for the last 29 years, is unhappy about the police response to the incidents he suffered - and said there are other problems in the area that go unnoticed.
But police say they cannot provide an even greater presence due to budget cuts.
Mr Ibbotson said: “The village is classed as low risk, but there are always youths on the streets and there are incidents of vandalism such as greenhouses being smashed.
“I had only just got the van back after it was stolen and used in a crime when it was set on fire.”
Mr Ibbotson claims changes to policing mean Stannington is covered by officers at Deepcar.
“We haven’t had a police station in the village for more than a decade and you never see a policeman on the beat,” he said.
Mr Ibbotson also criticised the police response to the arson.
He said: “The fire could have spread to the shop and flat above but I was just given a crime number. I gave details of two witnesses but the police didn’t even go out to see one of them.”
Stannington Coun David Baker said: “The village is not an area with high crime but there is always the odd complaint of anti-social behaviour. We could do with increased police activity to reassure the public.”
Supt Martin Hemingway, responsible for policing in the west of Sheffield, said: “I sympathise with Mr Ibbotson and the serious crime committed against him.
“On this occasion officers investigating were made aware of a potential witness who had heard someone running past his house. However, due to the distance between the witness’s address and Mr Ibbotson’s van the two could not be connected. Due to financial challenges, it is impossible for us to maintain a police station in every village. Deepcar station provides extra resources for surrounding areas.”