Homeless man found in lift room of Wellingborough car park

Engineers also found an air pistol while fixing damage to the lift cabling on the same day

By Stephanie Weaver
Thursday, 20th February 2020, 6:00 am

Police are investigating after a homeless man was found in the lift room of the Swansgate car park on the same day that lift cabling was damaged and an air pistol was found.

Officers received calls about the three incidents which took place in the space of 24 hours between 6pm on January 29 and 5.40pm the next day.

It started with reports of extensive damage caused to the lift cabling which put the lifts from the car park to the shopping centre out of action.

Wellingborough's multi-storey car park

The second call came after a man got into the lift room followed by a call from the lift engineers who found what they believed to be a handgun, although it turned out to be an air pistol.

A spokesman for Northants Police said: "I can confirm that we received reports of criminal damage to the lift which occurred between 6pm on January 29 and 9.40am on January 30.

"They were advised to render the lift out of action until it was repaired.

"We received a second call regarding a homeless man sleeping in the lift room and then the gun.

"We attended that incident and the handgun on closer inspection was an air pistol.

"Anyone with information about the incident of criminal damage or information about the air pistol should contact us."

The spokesman said no arrests have been made.

Sergeant Chris Stevens from Wellingborough Neighbourhood Policing Team said they are aware of issues in the car park and have recorded an Anti-Social Behaviour Priority incident to resolve them.

He said: "This has resulted in the identification of around 30 people who have been involved in anti-social behaviour and crime issues which have been taking place.

"These people have been issued with banning letters from Wellingborough Council and the management of the Swansgate for the car park and shopping centre respectively and anti-social behaviour warning letters from the police.

"Foot patrols have also been increased in the area at the peak times in order to engage with individuals hanging around in the stairwells of the car park and we are speaking to our partner agencies about a joint approach to tackling the issues."

A spokesman for Wellingborough Council, which owns and manages the car park, said: "The Borough Council of Wellingborough is working with Wellingborough Norse and Northamptonshire Police to carry out regular patrols of Swansgate multi-storey car park, and respond to reports of anti-social behaviour (ASVB).

"Officers respond to reports of ASB as a priority, and have seen a reduction in the number of reports to the council.

"We will continue to work with our partners to address these issues, and the design for the re-development of the car park will take these concerns into consideration and seek resolution."

Northamptonshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold recently met with council leader Martin Griffiths and Sgt Stevens to discuss how organisations are working to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Mr Mold and Cllr Griffiths visited the car park which has seen drug dealing and arson attacks as well as anti-social behaviour in the past year.

Cllr Griffiths outlined the council’s proposals to re-develop the car park, which will aim to tackle these issues by increased surveillance and enhancing the appearance of it.

He said tackling homelessness is another key priority for the council and its partners.

The council’s housing team spoke to Mr Mold about the work that is underway to help families and individuals facing homelessness.

Cllr Griffiths said: “We are passionate about working with our partners to ensure that we meet the needs of our community and ensure our residents are safe.

"We will continue to work collaboratively with the police and fire service by continually reviewing our strategies to address the issues that impact our residents and businesses”.

Mr Mold said: "There is a lot of work taking place in Wellingborough to create a safe and pleasant environment and deal with all the issues of a growing town.

"Our local policing team is working very closely with the borough council to respond to local problems and I’m looking forward to seeing a programme of initiatives roll out across the coming year.”

The Northants Telegraph asked the Swansgate Shopping Centre for a comment but they declined as they do not own or manage the car park.