POLICE have reassured Saddleworth business owners they are addressing a recent spike in crime in the area “head on”.
Nearly 20 incidents were logged throughout Saddleworth and Lees during September, with Uppermill the most targeted village.
Greater Manchester Police are deploying extra patrols in the area to avoid a repeat of last year’s crime wave, which lasted nearly three months.
Armed and Mounted Police were visible presences on Uppermill High Street at the height of the spree but it’s hoped such action won’t need to be repeated.
Stepping Stones Day Nursery, BED, Style & Salvaged, Village Pets and the Age Concern shop were among those hit in Uppermill this time around.
Style and Salvaged was targeted twice in 48 hours, with owner Emma Givvons posting on Facebook: “Enough is Enough!
“Stop targeting our beautiful community, whoever you are. We are all watching out for you, and You WILL get caught, or Karma.”
A 47-year-old male from the Manchester area was detained after stealing a large bag of donated clothing from Age Concern.
He was spotted pulling up alongside the doorway of the shop before grabbing the bag.
The male was detained a short time later on Lees Road at Clarksfield and the bag of clothing was recovered.
“This is a low level theft but we have a zero tolerance approach to crime and ASB in Saddleworth,” said a GMP spokesperson.
“The clothing was donated in good faith to the charity shop and the male had no right to steal it.”
The Satellite Centre on Wellington Road, Greenfield also reported a break-in while a number of premises in Lees have been targeted, including two RSPCA charity shops, a café and La Bella Italian restaurant.
A post on the GMP Saddleworth and Lees Facebook page said: “There have been a number of break-ins and attempts to gain entry at Uppermill, Springhead and Lees.
“Offenders have entered shop premises by forcing doors often from the rear and out of view and then conducting untidy searches taking items that often cause the retailer no end of issues in attempting to open and trade the following day.
“We are working closely with local retailers and have an encrypted contact network with over 75 local businesses and shops taking part in a forum where information is passed quickly and effectively.
“We have uniform teams in marked vehicles across the Saddleworth area through the night and into the early hours looking for stop opportunities.
“We will not be phased by this upturn in activity and fully intend to meet it head on.”
Stepping Stones nursery closed for a day after falling victim to the crime wave.
The intruder ransacked the office before leaving with various quantities of cash, laptops and a camera.
A spokesperson said: “The office was a mess but fortunately the rest of the building was okay.
“We had to close on the Thursday to tidy up but managed to open the following day.”
In a separate initiative police have warned residents to be vigilant of car thieves.
They said: “There are currently criminals travelling around the villages and relentlessly trying car door handles on a nightly basis.
“This is not a one-off. This is a nightly occurrence in the Saddleworth villages.
“We ask that as a community you continue to be vigilant and report in any thing that is suspicious or looks out of place.”
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old male has been charged with three burglaries, one count of theft of a motor bike and one count of criminal damage.
Nigel Armstrong of Shakespeare Road, Oldham was remanded on conditional bail at Manchester Magistrates Court on Saturday, September 30.
The cases have been sent to Manchester Crown Court on Friday, October 27.
The burglary charges relate to: the 3 Chefs, Shaw, St Edward’s Church Hall, Spring Lane, Lees and the Balti Taste, High Street, Lees.