Police slammed for investigation delay after van containing a firearm is stolen in Cricklewood

Michael Roche has slammed the police (Pic credit: Adam Thomas)

Michael Roche has slammed the police (Pic credit: Adam Thomas) - Credit: Archant

A builder from Cricklewood claims police waited 12 days to launch a hunt for his stolen work van even though it contained an air pistol that could fall into the wrong hands.

Michael Roche, 57, who lives in Cricklewood Broadway, said officers should have warned the public sooner following the theft, which included half a box of pellet ammunition, from outside his flat on the evening of May 28.

Mr Roche, who is also an electrician, said: “When the police came after I found the van was gone I told them about the gun but they didn’t even bat an eyelid.

“I haven’t heard anything from them in 12 days; you would have thought that they’d take immediate action when they heard there was a gun in the back.”

He added: “It’s a proper firearm but you don’t need a licence for it – it’s quite dangerous and anyone could use it to rob a post office or a bank and I’m worried because my finger prints would be on it.

“It could definitely do some serious harm. It’s the kind of thing you can take pigeon shooting and I kept it in the van because I didn’t want to leave it in the flat.

“It could take somebody’s eye out.”

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On Monday detectives launched an appeal for information about the silver-coloured Ford Transit van which has a Complete Building Works logo on the side and number plates RK55 VTF.

The thief made away with the van containing the gun, a large number of tools and hundreds of pounds worth of building materials after burgling Mr Roche’s flat between 9pm and 11.40pm .

Mr Roche said: “I can’t do any more work – it’s made me completely redundant.

“They stole £5,000 worth of tools and £200 of components for jobs I was meant to do this week.

“Until I get my van back I’ve lost 90 per cent of my income and a lot of invoices and paperwork. My van is like my workshop and my office.”

Mr Roche, who inherited the air pistol from an Irish relative a decade ago, says he fears for who may now be in possession of the gun.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police asked anyone who has any information about the crime or the whereabouts of the van to phone police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting crime reference number 1912326/15.

No arrests have been made and the investigation continues.