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Thieves raid schools and food depots as suppliers targeted

Police officers may have to help deliver food to vulnerable older people and protect depots after a series of thefts targeting suppliers.

Ministers and officials at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are working with local resilience forums to finalise how to get essential supplies to self-isolating older people – and working out how to protect food deliveries.

The department said it would “draw on the voluntary sector and emergency services” to get food and hygiene supplies to up to 1.5m vulnerable people.

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the Local Government Association’s wellbeing board said it was only a matter of days until the first deliveries.

But it came as several police forces revealed thieves have been targeting food suppliers and even domestic homes.

Northumbria Police revealed that a distributor in Gateshead to NHS hospitals and local schools had been broken into.

Essex Police are investigating after thieves targeted a school in Halsted taking four commercial-sized freezers and their contents plus kitchen equipment.

School Registrar Caro Daniels said: “They took about £6,000 worth of food. All of the dry goods, even the catering equipment, things like clingfilm, plastic rubber gloves, literally everything they could get their hands on.”

Norfolk Police have also issued warnings to resident and businesses to keep outbuildings and vehicles secure after a number of thefts of food.

Superintendent Mike Britton said: "We have seen a few cases of thefts where household and food items have been targeted by people we believe are taking advantage of current events.

"I would also encourage any businesses who have to leave outbuildings unattended due to working from home or self-isolation, to take extra security measures at this time to stop opportunistic thieves.”

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