Police warning landlords to protect properties

Landlords in Newport are being warned of burglars targeting empty properties.

Since June 1 there have been nine burglaries of properties that are owned by landlords and not currently let. Thieves see these properties as easy targets and are making off with fixtures and fittings, including copper piping.

Landlords are then faced with the cost of repairing damaged caused during the theft or replacing high-value items such as boilers.

Inspector Rob Jones from Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Thieves can see empty properties as easy pickings.

“Our message to landlords and tenants is to make a property looked lived in if it’s going to be empty for any amount of time.

“Putting lights or a radio on a timer can deter thieves and it’s important to check the property regularly and invest in a monitored alarm system.

“Many properties stand empty as they’re being refurbished. If you’re doing plumbing work take the chance to replace copper piping with flexi pipes. Don’t keep valuable metals, tools or DIY equipment on site.”

Police are also helping to make landlords aware of Middlesbrough Council’s 'Refurb & Rent' scheme, which aims to bring back into use properties which have been empty.

Middlesbrough Council’s scheme aims to address housing need in the town, as well as ensuring rental income for property owners.

Up to £16,000 of match funding is available per property for renovations. In return landlords are required to lease the property to a management organisation for a five-year term. The landlord receives more than 80 per cent of a rental income collected.

Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “It is always disappointing when properties that are being refurbished for the benefit of the wider community are targeted by unscrupulous criminals.

“I would urge those undertaking refurbishment to take extra precautions, and anyone with information should contact the police.”

For more information on the Refurb & Rent scheme contact Housing Officers Nicola Norman on 01642 729436 or Peter Brewer 01642 729282.