No charges over Old Town car crimes spree

Swindon Advertiser: Inspector Joe Saunders from Wiltshire Police in Dixon Street in February, when vandals slashed the tyres of a number of cars in an overnight crime spree in February Inspector Joe Saunders from Wiltshire Police in Dixon Street in February, when vandals slashed the tyres of a number of cars in an overnight crime spree in February

VICTIMS of a crime spree in Old Town 10 months ago have been left frustrated as charges will not be brought to court.

About 150 cars had their tyres slashed in an overnight crime spree between Old Town and the town centre in February.

Most vehicles had multiple tyres slashed and the streets hardest hit included Dixon Street, Stafford Street, Raggett Street and Prospect Place.

Wiltshire Police arrested three teenagers in connection with the incident and have been working hard to gather enough evidence to bring the youngsters to court.

But now the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have ruled that the evidence available is unlikely to result in convictions, and charges against them have been dropped.

Residents affected have said the decision is disappointing.

Ryan McAdam, 35, of Dixon Street, said: “Vandals slashed three tyres on my Mini Cooper, two of which were brand new.

“That day I was due to start work at half five, and when I got out of the house at a quarter to there were people walking up and down the road.

“I asked someone what was wrong and he told me his tyres had been slashed. I went straight over to my car and saw they had got three of mine as well.

“It looked like they used a Stanley knife, because they went in through the side, just under the rim, and cut right across the middle of the tyres.

“I had bought two of them new about two months before, and they got both of those.

“There were stories about people with sports cars who had to pay out hundreds of pounds to replace their tyres. There were a few unhappy people that day.

“It doesn’t make you feel great to hear nothing will be done about it. I also got burgled this year, but they did not have enough evidence to pin it on them. They arrested someone for 15 burglaries, including mine, but they only got charged for one. It is sickening.

“When I got the new tyres I spent about £110 each on them. But when it came to replace them I got cheaper ones, because I thought the same thing might happen again.”

Another Dixon Street resident said: “They slashed two wheels of my Audi, which cost £270 each to replace. We could not even claim it from insurance, because the policies don’t cover something like that.

“We recognised and understood that nothing was going to be done quite some time ago. The CCTV footage was just not good enough, and there was no forensic evidence or witnesses to the crime.

“Young people are young people and they do stupid things. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do, like when kids go kicking wing mirrors off cars.

“Car tyres do not slash back.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Police submit evidence to the CPS to make a charge decision. In this instance, the CPS did not charge as they were not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

“Our officers feel every investigative avenue has been exhausted. We must balance this with the public interest.”


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