NEWS
02/01/2012 01:49 GMT | Updated 02/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Milk, Toilet Rolls And £12,000 Patrol Cars: Bizarre Items Stolen From Police Revealed

Handcuffs, uniforms, speed guns, dogs and even patrol cars have been stolen from police stations in the past five years.

The haul includes dozens of warrant cards, several bikes, riot shields, a red "door whammer" - a battering ram used by officers for breaking into houses - and breathalysers.

But it is not just police equipment that goes missing every year from stations up and down the country.

Some of the more bizarre items stolen include a packet of six Sunblest crumpets worth 50p from Priory Road police station in Hull, a fern and green plastic pot taken from Lancashire Police, a small fridge from Dunstable police station and a copy of some CCTV footage and a television from West Oxfordshire.

Meanwhile a £20 mannequin was stolen from Essex Police's kennels at Epping, a thief helped themselves to the £48 tea float from Pontefract police station in West Yorkshire and in West Mercia a 20-pack of toilet rolls vanished.

The catalogue of theft from police stations across Britain was revealed in a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association.

Equipment and personal belongings worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been stolen, according to the request to every police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The force with the highest value of goods stolen is Greater Manchester Police with £86,910. Other forces with high-value losses include Strathclyde with £22,524, Northumbria with £19,858, Essex with £15,406 and Surrey with £9,657.

Among the more high-value thefts is that of cars.

In May 2008 in Morpeth, Northumberland, a £12,000 Northumbria Police patrol car was stolen.

The thief took the vehicle, which was parked outside the station, and crashed it causing damage to two parked cars.

A Ford Galaxy patrol car was stolen from a police station in Carnforth, Lancashire.

Police documents reveal the suspect took the keys when they were left briefly unattended inside the police station. The car was later recovered.

The FOI request also reveals that thefts of several dogs were reported.

At a police station in Blackburn, Lancs, two dogs - a terrier and a lurcher - that had been seized as evidence were stolen by a "known offender" who was attending a pre-arranged meeting with an RSPCA inspector.

And in Merseyside, seized pitbull dogs were taken in separate incidents in 2006/7 and 2007/8 from the Liverpool North district.

But many of the reported thefts were opportunist, with thieves taking small low-value items they could conceal easily.

Coffee worth £2.50 was taken from Byker police station in Newcastle, a cap badge from an officer's hat was stolen at Widnes police station, a rubber stamp was taken from the inquiry desk of Stevenage police station and at Basildon police station someone nabbed a copy of Miller's Guide to Affordable Antiques, worth £5.

And in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in October 2008 a thief stole an A to Z of the town worth £5.01 from inside a patrol car.

Among the more unusual reported crimes, the FOI request reveals, was the theft at Hucknall police station in Nottinghamshire of a £1 cereal bowl with a sheep pattern, along with an empty lunchbox worth £3.

In December 2008 six pints of semi-skimmed milk were taken from Cambridgeshire Police HQ in Huntington, they were worth £2.52.

The TaxPayers' Alliance called for an investigation into the figures.

Campaign director Emma Boon said: "The list of stolen items is truly astonishing and taxpayers will worry that police giving out crime prevention advice can't seem to avoid being robbed themselves."