EARLY morning police patrols have been stepped up in Knutsford following a spate of doorstep milk thefts.

Last week, around 15 pints were stolen from addresses across the town and surrounding area, including Manor Park North, Woodlands Drive and Mansion Drive.

It is not the first time Knutsford homes have fallen victim to milk theft sprees and in a bid to combat the crime police have increased patrols and are urging early-morning commuters to report any suspicious behaviour.

Steve Edwards, from Sheldon’s Dairy, based in Parkgate industrial estate, said: “Pints of milk do go missing, sometimes kids do it for a laugh, and we go round and replace them. But in the past four or five years we have had spates where virtually whole streets are targeted.

“We have been very lucky for eight or ten months but last week it started again.

“We can’t afford to lose customers through milk being stolen. It’s a business and it’s going to have a knock-on effect.”

Milk bottle thefts have been a reoccurring problem in Knutsford. In August 2009, two youths were cautioned after bragging about stealing milk from homes in Shaw Heath on Facebook.

Steve said the family-run company, which has been operating in the Knutsford area for 50 years, is keen to ‘nip it in the bud’ before the problem escalates any further.

“If it were happening in a supermarket, even if it was stealing a mars bar, the thieves would be prosecuted. The problem is that it’s out in the open but thieving is thieving and we will prosecute,” he added.

“The thing is, if somebody is going up to your doorstep and stealing milk and see a bike in the garden, what is stopping them taking that too?”

Anyone with information regarding the thefts should contact the police on their non-emergency number 101.