If you reckon PSNI stations are among the safest locations in Northern Ireland think again.
ore than 40 thefts have occurred there over the past five years with just five leading to charges being brought.
Four of these prosecutions were successful, resulting in separate sentences of four months in prison, one month in jail, a three-month suspended sentence, and 80 hours of community service.
The remaining 38 thefts – details of which were provided to Sunday Life following a Freedom of Information request – saw no action taken.
Among the items stolen since October 2015 were cash, clothing, computers, mobile phones, tools, perfume and electrical equipment.
The most sinister was that of 17 rounds of live ammunition taken from Antrim PSNI station, which did not result in a prosecution.
A wallet containing bank cards was also removed in another incident at the station, with £500 illegally withdrawn from the cardholder’s account.
Among the more bizarre things stolen were an RUC commemorative plaque, a paintbrush, and an energy drink.
The police base that saw the most thefts was Antrim with nine incidents, closely followed by Musgrave Street in Belfast with seven.
In it’s FOI response to this newspaper, the PSNI said: “The details provided are based on all recorded burglary, robbery or theft offences where property has been classified as ‘stolen’ from a PSNI station or vehicle, for the period October 2015 to September 2020.
“All property details are listed regardless of who owns the property (i.e. not all property stolen will be police property).”
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie described the theft of 17 live rounds of ammunition from Antrim PSNI station as “concerning”.
He said: “It is important to find out if these rounds are unaccounted for or stolen.
“Either way it’s concerning, especially if they have shown up during police searches or have been linked to criminal activity.
“The last thing that anyone needs is police-issue bullets falling into the hands of criminals.”
Several high-profile court cases against serving PSNI officers involving allegations of theft from stations have came before the courts in recent years
In 2016 Bryan Thomas Stronge had an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to stealing more than £50,000 of warrant money lodged in a safe at Tennent Street station in Belfast.
The Crown Court heard how the then 54-year-old treated the cash like his personal bank account and used it for his own benefit.
Despite paying back the money in full Stronge, a cop from 1987, lost his job, his full police pension and a £100,000 guaranteed lump sum on his retirement which was two years away.
Another well-publicised court case involving allegations of theft against a PSNI officer saw Yvonne Forte cleared of stealing cash from evidential exhibits.
The 41-year-old, who was based at Knocknagoney PSNI station in east Belfast, wept when allegations of misconduct in public office were withdrawn at Belfast Crown Court in 2018.
Ms Forte was also found not guilty of four counts of theft of £3,254 from evidential exhibits, whilst a serving police constable, over a period from September 2009 to July 2014.