Wheels worth £20k stolen from lorries
POLICE have launched an investigation after thieves stole lorry wheels and tyres worth more than £20,000 from an industrial site. They took 23 lorry tyres and wheels from approximately 12 HGV tractor units, leaving them on breeze blocks and pieces of wood before escaping.
Offenders struck at WG Tanker Group Ltd, at Waterhouses, near Leek, over the Easter weekend. Now bosses at the Leek Road site are offering a cash reward for information which leads to a prosecution.
At least two people are believed to be behind the theft of the cast alloy wheels and Bridgestone tyres, between 6pm on Thursday and 6am yesterday.
A total of seven front wheels and 16 rear double wheels, plus tyres, were stolen.
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The offenders rolled the wheels to the back of the site, across a field and into an adjacent field, where police say a vehicle, possibly of Transit size, was waiting. Daniel Smart, one of the managers at the company, said: "The tyres have left marks where they were wheeled through the fields and it would have taken a substantial van, or lorry, to take them away.
"We have CCTV cameras at the site, but they managed to keep out of the way of them.
"There will be a cash reward if we get the equipment back or if information leads to a prosecution."
The offenders are believed to have been at the site for several hours as each wheel has 10 nuts which are thought to have been removed manually.
Barry Proctor, who runs Talke-based haulage firm Barry Proctor Services, is a member of the Road Haulage Association and sits on its security committee.
He said: "I haven't heard of anything like this for many years.
"I hope it doesn't spread and that the people are caught quickly.
"It sounds like it was a big job and they must have had a big vehicle to take the stuff away.
"A wheel and tyre together is worth about £500 depending on the condition of the tyre. There has been an awful increase in metal theft and alloy is quite expensive.
"I would expect the offenders to try to sell the whole wheel on, but would urge other people not to buy them."
Anyone with information about the theft can contact PC Matt Lovatt on 101 quoting incident number 83 of April 10, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.