Sheffield pool security increased as thieves target lockers

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A SHEFFIELD sports centre has stepped up security after reports of thefts from lockers.

Ponds Forge said such crimes were rare, but it has stepped up patrols in the locker area, as well as putting up posters urging swimmers to be vigilant.

The move comes after one break-in cost a visitor to the city about £500.

As well as his phone, watch and credit cards being stolen, Simon Slade’s car keys were also taken, leaving him stranded in the city.

The 48-year-old had to pay for taxis and trains to get to and from his home in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, to collect a new set of keys so he could drive his car home at the end of his stay.

He criticised the changing rooms at the pool, claiming it appears the lockers are regularly targeted by thieves.

Mr Slade said: “The changing rooms are inadequate.

“I always have a sense of unease when I use them and normally take my belongings poolside. On this occasion I used the lockers and ended up living to regret it.

“The lockers are old, have doors and locks hanging off and there is evidence of them being forced open in the past.”

Richard Apps, Ponds Forge general manager, said: “Incidents like this are rare.

“However, the safety and security of our customers is of paramount importance which is why we are working with South Yorkshire Police to increase security in the areas.

“Following the theft, we have increased patrols by our own leisure staff. We have also displayed additional signage encouraging customers to be vigilant and to make use of our Care of Valuables Service and leave their belongings with our reception team.”

South Yorkshire Police said they were aware of ‘a number of thefts from lockers’.

A force spokeswoman said: “The majority of thefts are from a combination of people using the pool and leaving their belongings in unlocked lockers or at the poolside.

“Some thefts have taken place where lockers have been forced open, and thefts have taken place where gym-users have opened their lockers and then gone to shower, leaving valuables on benches and in unlocked lockers.

“PC Zareen Gulzar, of the Sheffield central safer neighbourhood team, met with Ponds Forge security staff.

“It has been agreed Ponds Forge will put up posters requesting people lock away their valuables and be more vigilant, staff will carry out regular checks and walkthroughs in changing rooms and Ponds Forge has employed a security company to carry out patrols.”

* A 16-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with the theft of Mr Slade’s belongings.

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