BURGLARS who ransacked a house, drilled through gas pipes and left live electrical wires hanging loose remain uncaught – despite police having DNA evidence for a suspect.
Gerald Dargle, the owner of the cottage in Cradley, near Malvern, is still furious after receiving a letter from West Mercia Police 10 months after the burglary saying there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with the case.
This is despite the one item of evidence being found in the house – a section of electrical tape – implicating a known burglar.
Detective Sergeant Chris Watson said: “Unfortunately, this single piece of evidence would not reach the burden of proof needed for a successful prosecution.”
He said that Hereford CID has done all it could to investigate the theft of copper piping experienced by Mr Dargle and had kept him informed of any developments.
Mr Dargle is upset no one will be charged believing that if he switched his lights on after the burglary he could have blown himself up from an electrical spark igniting the escaped gas.
“I read the meter afterwards and I worked out that 80 cubic metres of gas had escaped,” he said.
Copper piping from the heating system and electrical wiring had been removed, but the gas pipes had also been tampered with as the burglars tired to remove them.
Mr Dargle had been renovating the cottage at the time of last November’s raid.
He is particularly unhappy that nobody was charged even though a suspect’s DNA was found on the electrical tape. A man was arrested, but released without charge.
“They said the reason for it was the tape was a movable item, which is ridiculous – who else would have put it there?” he said.
“If you found a piece of tape wrapped three times round your gas pipes then surely that is evidence they were there?”
DS Watson said: “While forensics found DNA of a known offender on a piece of electrical tape, it was ass-essed that this was not enough to pursue a prosecution. If the DNA had been found on a permanent object in the property this would have been strong proof of this person being in the property. However, it was found on an item which had been brought to the scene of the crime.”
DS Watson said: “We have done all we can in this case, so it’s a shame that Mr Dargle still does not feel the same way despite a number of reviews being done into our work, all of which found that it was satisfactory and there was no chance of it proceeding further.”