THE owner of a business on Silsden’s outskirts which has been repeatedly targeted by thieves criticised what he says is a lack of support from authorities.

Jonathan Smith, of JMS Cricket, said measures his firm has tried to take to deter criminals have been thwarted by Northern Power Grid and Bradford Council.

The latest incident between 5pm on April 30 and 6.45pm on May 1 saw thieves take £45,000 worth of equipment from the cricket ground maintenance business.

Mr Smith said: “You don’t sleep well after you get robbed. For this to have happened four times in 12 months is a worrying scenario."

He explained he paid £25,000 in January to have his company’s land linked to the power network, but is still without a connection from Northern Power Grid. Without power he cannot install electric gates, security cameras or alarms.

When he applied to locate 10 holiday cabins on a field next to his business, this was rejected by Bradford Council on grounds of flood risk and harm to the green belt.

“If the land was occupied it would be far less likely that it would be raided,” he said.

“I asked Bradford what ‘harm’ this application would cause, when we’re improving the land by planting hundreds of willow trees and repairing dry stone walls. I got no answer.

“For 80 of the last 100 years the land was a sewerage works or a landfill site.”

He challenged the council’s flood risk argument, noting the holiday cabins would be on an area of the site which does not flood.

He pointed out that parts of his land classified as being at a greater risk of flooding are actually higher up than other parts classified as lower risk.

Mr Smith said the thieves who struck last week forced their way into a locked shipping container. They stole hand tools and an Avant 755 telehandler, which is a type of multi-use vehicle.

A Northern Power Grid spokesman responded: “We can confirm we received a request for a connection from JMS Cricket in January 2018.

“New connections to our network, which require our equipment to be installed on third party landowner’s property, can be subject to delays while we acquire necessary wayleave agreements.

“It can sometimes take months to gain the consents, and when a wayleave agreement is required our dedicated wayleave officers stay in regular contact with our customers to ensure they are kept up to date.

“For this new connection to be completed we need to gain permissions from two third party landowners.

“Both have been contacted and we’re working to arrange the consents as quickly as possible. We appreciate delays can be frustrating."

A Bradford Council spokesman said: "Following consideration and submission of further information, Mr Smith's application for a new caravan and cabin park was refused by our Regulatory and Appeals Committee on April 5 2018.

"The refusal was on grounds that the development was inappropriate development within the Green Belt and also due to concerns over flood risk, access and landscape/design issues.

"Flood Zone sites are determined by the Environment Agency and is not something that the Council can overrule.

"The site has been open green field for a number of years and the national policy planning framework is clear it should be considered as a green field site within the green belt. The applicant has been advised of his right to appeal.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed officers were investigating the latest theft from Mr Smith’s business. He asked anyone with information to contact the 101 number or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.