Roof raiders strike for second time in six months

Thieves steal lead on Georgian homes in second ‘audacious’ swoop

Friday, 6th December 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Milner Square

Scaffolding on homes in Milner Square where thieves have stolen lead from roofs twice this year

THIEVES have stripped the lead off the roofs of listed Georgian homes again in an “audacious” raid on the same square in Islington.

“Shocked” neighbours in Milner Square told the Tribune this week how they received a letter from Partners For Improvement (PFI) – which manages the Barnsbury terraces for Islington Council – saying that the lead on their roofs, which stretched for more than 100 feet, had been completely removed.

It is the second time this year that lead has been stolen from homes in Milner Square, sparking outrage from residents who say contractors are leaving scaffolding up unused for too long and helping thieves to get access.

The Tribune reported in May how families were woken up during a raid in the early hours as police chased a man across the roof with a helicopter. They allegedly used scaffolding left behind by builders to climb up and grab hundreds of yards of lead.

Nobody has been charged for that theft.

It appears the thieves struck again on the opposite side of the square but police are unsure when the raid actually took place.
Gary Clarke, who has lived in the square for 25 years, said: “This scaffolding has been up for ages and there are no workmen on it. I was told the thieves must have gone up at one end and walked along the top.

“We have had a couple of characters looking at the windows and we are worried they are going to be tempted to break in. We can’t stay in all day guarding the place.”

Mr Clarke’s wife added: “The scaffolders are using this place as a storage site. They leave it up there so they don’t have to store it somewhere else and nobody is doing anything about it.”

The letter from PFI to the residents said: “Following a report of a roof leak we have discovered that there has been a theft of lead form the roof along your terrace.

“The police have been informed and we have a crime reference number, but as yet we do not know how or when the actual theft took place.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It was audacious and I think it happened during the summer.

“It’s shocking that it must have taken quite a long time to take the lead and nobody noticed it.

“It’s very easy to come here and put a bit of scaffolding up and tell us that they’re from the council, then they can disappear without a trace.”

A Partners spokeswoman told the Tribune yesterday (Thursday): “We can confirm that there was a theft of lead from the roofs of some of the properties we manage.

“This was reported to the police in October, we submitted a claim to our insurers and remedial works were completed within a few days of Partners becoming aware of the theft.”

Partners say they will cover residents’ losses over the lead.­

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