£1m crime gang loots the NHS In­quiry call af­ter thieves pick site clean

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - FRONT PAGE - By Krissy Stor­rar

Acrime gang plun­dered more than £1 mil­lion of metal from a derelict hospi­tal us­ing tun­nels to loot the build­ing, we can re­veal. The well-drilled out­fit took months to strip valu­able high-volt­age ca­bles, pipes and lead from the site. The raids only stopped when the dis­used hospi­tal, in Glas­gow, was picked clean. They even stole the CCTV se­cu­rity cam­eras. Po­lit­i­cans called for an in­quiry yes­ter­day as ex­pert Jim Scott said the haul would eas­ily reach £1m, adding: “They were or­gan­ised and work­ing night shifts. The only thing they didn’t have was a clock-in, clock-out ma­chine.”

Crim­i­nals plun­dered more than £1 mil­lion of metal and wiring from a derelict hospi­tal us­ing a hid­den net­work of dis­used tun­nels to loot the build­ing, we can re­veal. The well-or­gan­ised gang spent months strip­ping valu­able high-volt­age ca­bles, pipes and lead work in re­peated raids on the old Stob­hill Hospi­tal in Glas­gow. They used util­ity cor­ri­dors be­neath the build­ings to move around the site, where they had erected tem­po­rary lights. They even stole a CCTV se­cu­rity cam­era. Ex­perts es­ti­mate the mar­ket value of the haul would eas­ily reach £1m and po­lice be­lieve the op­er­a­tion was only halted when the hospi­tal was picked clean, with noth­ing left of value inside. Paul Sweeney, MP for Glas­gow North East, dis­cov­ered the ex­tent of the thefts af­ter vis­it­ing Stob­hill in Septem­ber for a site visit in the wake of a ma­jor fire which had been started de­lib­er­ately. Now Mr Sweeney has writ­ten to NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde to ex­press his “shock” at the state of the old hospi­tal. “It’s a scan­dal,” said Mr Sweeney. “Mil­lions and mil­lions of pounds worth of prop­erty has been taken, de­stroyed or al­lowed to fall to bits at a time when the NHS is so strapped for cash. This site was a trea­sure trove, but its value has been plun­dered by crim­i­nals.” Mr Sweeney also crit­i­cised the health board for fail­ing to heed warn­ings to se­cure the site af­ter it was closed fol­low­ing the open­ing of the new Stob­hill hospi­tal. Gang mem­bers are un­der­stood to have ac­cessed the old hospi­tal grounds by driv­ing to Lit­tle­hill golf club in Bish­op­briggs then cross­ing a nar­row bridge hid­den from view by trees. Tools were used to pop the riv­ets se­cur­ing the base of the ver­ti­cal posts on the metal se­cu­rity fences so they ap­peared un­dam­aged but could be parted like cur­tains to al­low ac­cess. They would use a weld­ing sol­der to tem­po­rar­ily hold the posts in place af­ter they left and avoid them “swing­ing like wind chimes”. Un­der the cover of dark­ness, they squeezed through ducts into the un­der­ground util­ity tun­nels which con­nect the hospi­tal build­ings, and are lined with large steam pipes and vast stretches of high-volt­age ca­bles. The power was still live, so the gang used a skilled elec­tri­cian to isolate the sec­tions of ca­ble be­fore it was sev­ered and stolen. The gang used the mains sup­ply to rig up tem­po­rary light­ing in the tun­nels to make their task eas­ier as they re­turned time and again to me­thod­i­cally strip the valu­able scrap metal and ca­bles. They suf­fered an ap­par­ent set­back when they ac­ci­den­tally caused a black­out in the new hospi­tal af­ter cut­ting the wrong ca­ble and lead­ing to the tem­po­rary lights be­ing dis­cov­ered. Mr Sweeney said: “That was the rea­son they pow­ered the site down. There had still been live elec­tric­ity and they had rigged up tem­po­rary light­ing. It shows

Orig­i­nal blue­prints for the Stob­hill Hospi­tal in Glas­gow where thieves spent months plun­der­ing ev­ery scrap of metal

A gang of so­phis­ti­cated thieves used de­tailed knowl­edge of the old Stob­hill hospi­tal to plan the raids and steal more than £1m worth of metal and wiring. The gang en­tered util­ity tun­nels that led to the hospi­tal’s boiler house and were lined with high-volt­age ca­bles. They even in­stalled lights to help them see. Above, the land­mark tower of the now derelict Stob­hill hospi­tal

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