Police believe they have smashed a major south of England chip theft ring after three Midlands men were charged with burglary following a bungled computer chip theft on a bank in Southampton last Friday evening.
A policeman is recovering in hospital after plunging through a corrugated roof in pursuit of the raiders. The men are believed to be behind a string of chip thefts on various branches of Lloyds and Barclays banks.
The attempted theft highlights the value of computer chips, as the thieves ignored the bank vault and headed straight for the bank's PCs.
The three-man gang is believed to have hit another bank earlier in the same evening when chips were stolen from nine PCs.
Over the weekend police arrested two eighteen year old women, also from the Midlands, that are believed to be connected to the gang. The women were later released on police bail.
'Chip theft is the fastest growing type of commercial theft,' according to Malcolm Tarling, press officer at the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI believes that chip theft costs UK insurers #200 million per year, and costs companies five times that in the disruption of business.
The injured police officer, PC Russell White, smashed through the roof after falling from a fire escape. He then became jammed upright between a storage tank and a wall, and had to be cut free by fire and rescue services. PC White suffered a cracked rib, a cut head and some bruising.
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