Break-in yards from closed police station in Sheffield fuels calls for reopening

The old Deepcar police station (right) with the service station in the background (pic: Google)
The old Deepcar police station (right) with the service station in the background (pic: Google)
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Thieves broke in to a shop yards from a disused Sheffield police station, prompting renewed calls for the station to be reopened.

Burglars struck at a petrol station store on Manchester Road in Deepcar overnight on Sunday, damaging the premises and taking a large quantity of cash and cigarettes.

The petrol station and attached McColl's convenience store are just two doors down from the old Deepcar police station.

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A petition to reopen the police station's public enquiry desk was launched a month ago on the website, following an armed robbery at the same shop, and has been signed more than 1,400 times.

Clare Wilson, who started the petition, claimed the latest break-in again highlighted the need for the area to have its own police station, writing 'sitting ducks again'.

The petition, addressed to the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Andrew Billing, states that robberies and burglaries in the neighbourhood have increased significantly since the police station closed, leaving the nearest staffed stations in Ecclesfield and Attercliffe.

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"This results in a minimum of a 20 minute journey time to reach our community in times of need," it adds.

"Cuts to community policing are putting lives, property and livelihoods at risk. This is not acceptable."

The public enquiry desk at the police station is closed but two PCSOs do still work out of the building.

Ms Wilson, a 43-year-old mother-of-one, who works as a teacher, said crime in the area had risen since the station closed around a year ago, but the last straw for residents came last month when a man armed with a machete robbed the petrol station store, terrifying staff and customers.

She said when her neighbours dialled 999 that day the operator asked why officers from the police station had not already attended, not realising the station had closed.

Dale Burkinshaw, who signed the petition, commented: "We used to live in a lovely safe village environment but not any more. More crime here in Deepcar and Stocksbridge. We need more policing to keep criminals at bay."

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Fellow signatory Nigel Cherry added: "We as a large and growing community need a strong police presence. It is better to prevent crime than try to stop it once it has got organised."

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I have received correspondence from a number of residents in Deepcar, who have raised concerns with me. I do understand that people need to feel safe by seeing police officers and PCSOs in their communities and why people feel that a building is a reassuring presence.

"South Yorkshire Police has recently re-established neighbourhood policing teams who are based out and about in communities at all times. The North West Sheffield team is served by a team of police officers and PCSOs who cover Deepcar and the surrounding area and hold regular engagement events and opportunities to speak with officers in the area.

"Whilst there is no public enquiry desk at Deepcar, there are two PCSOs who do work out of the building and are present in the community.

"I will continue to hear and raise any concerns, including and the petition when I receive it, and will address them with the Force’s Senior Leadership Group. However, it is unlikely that in the current financial climate and with the demands facing police resources that the station will re-open as a public enquiry desk in the future."

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the break-in was reported to have taken place between 10pm on Sunday evening and 5am the following morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 224 of May 28.

The Star has contacted South Yorkshire Police inviting it to respond to the petition.