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PUBLISHED: 13:12 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 24 August 2010

EXCLUSIVE by Alex Wellman Red-faced police chiefs were reeling after a cocky thief broke into their new station and made off with builders tools. The brash criminal stole a march on officers by breaking into Brent Police s new base in Wa

EXCLUSIVE

by Alex Wellman

Red-faced police chiefs were reeling after a cocky thief broke into their new station and made off with builders' tools.

The brash criminal stole a march on officers by breaking into Brent Police's new base in Walm Lane, Willesden, before the cops had even moved in.

Once the building is converted it will become home for the Willesden Green, Mapesbury and Brondesbury Park Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT), replacing the current station in Willesden High Road.

Karen Welton, Willesden Green resident, said: "This is an unfortunately timed incident but shows the need for a proper police station in Willesden Green."

The Times exclusively revealed last week that the police are moving out of the High Road and into the new site regarded as the crown jewels of the borough's policing. Police chiefs promised the move would not affect their ability to combat crime in the area but were caught with their pants down as the thief struck right under their noses.

Tony Antionou, Willesden Green Neighbourhood Watch senior warden, said: "This shows you that we need our police stations in the centre of the area. People are horrified that the station is moving so far away and now they are horrified that the place they are moving to is not secure.

"I don't think people will have much faith in this new base. If people know a police station is being broken into then they won't have faith in their ability to stop us being broken into."

Police were called to their own building on October 14 after reports of a burglary and arrived to find someone had kicked a door in at the back of the new base. Tools left overnight by the builders had been stolen but no description of a suspect has been released.

Cllr Gavin Sneddon, Willesden Green ward, said: "This surreal incident shows how important it is for the hardworking Willesden Green Safer Neighbourhoods Team to have proper premises in Willesden Green Police Station instead of in this poorly thought through shop front.

"What happens if sensitive information gets stolen from the police?

"From what we've seen so far it looks like the proposed new premises are not fit for purpose."

Police confirmed the SNT have since spoken to the builders about security.

A police spokeswoman said: "The premises was broken into at the start of the renovation when it was still the sports shop. There was nothing on show to say it was going to be used by the Met Police."

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk

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