Crime wave continues at Center Parcs

A POPULAR holiday resort which has vowed to spend �150,000 to combat a steep increase in thefts has once again been a victim of crime.

Dave Gooderham

A POPULAR holiday resort which has vowed to spend �150,000 to combat a steep increase in thefts has once again been a victim of crime.

Visitors to Center Parcs in Elveden have had their villas raided, vehicles broken into and mountain bikes stolen - as the dramatic rise in on-site crime shows no immediate signs of stopping.

Police statistics have exposed the shocking state of thefts at the popular holiday village with one bike stolen every day and one villa broken into per week.

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In the latest incidents, three more holiday villas have been broken into with cash, a handbag, mobile phones, digital cameras and a camcorder stolen.

At a similar time, a white Ford Transit van parked outside a villa was broken into and a camera and phone stolen. A man's Carrera Banshee and Aggressor mountain bike as well as a boy's Big Daddy Rooster BMX bike were also stolen. Police believe all three bikes were locked up outside the villas.

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Center Parcs bosses this week revealed it was working with police on a three-year programme - costing �150,000 - designed at improving security around the village which serves hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Simon Kay, PR officer at Center Parcs, said: “We are planning to step up patrols on-site and enhance our CCTV system. We don't want to scare people and we are talking small numbers compared with the 300,000 guests we have a year.”

Police figures have revealed that more than 130 bikes - most of which have been locked outside villas - have been stolen in 2009 with a further 232 in the last 12 months.

And the problems have now crept inside the chalets with 25 villas broken into in the last five months at the Elveden Forest site.

Det Insp Andy Smith said: “We continue to work closely with Center Parcs and are intent on doing all we can to tackle the problem. A recent crime prevention survey was conducted and a number of recommendations made to Center Parcs which are intended to enhance their current security arrangements. Targeted patrols of the area remain a district priority.”

One victim, who had his �3,000 bicycle stolen from outside his chalet, said the crime spree could turn people away from the holiday park.

Anyone with information about any of these thefts should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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