Teenagers are putting their lives at risk by using the former Walsall police station on Green Lane as an unofficial playground.
Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons, commander at Walsall police, is warning that people are putting themselves in danger by entering the dilapidated building.
Police have recently received dozens of reports about trespassing on the site. Just this month there has been an arson attack, numerous metal thefts and sightings of teens riding bikes on the roof. On Monday evening (11 September) a 17-year-old was arrested inside the building on suspicion of burglary. He has been released pending further investigation.
West Midlands Police no longer own the building, it was sold in November 2017 as part of the overall force estates strategy which earmarked buildings which were not fit-for-purpose; and where savings could be made to help protect policing services in the future. Neighbourhood policing teams moved into Walsall Civic Centre in 2016 as part of a partnership with the local authority; allowing partners to work even closer together. Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons said:
"I’m urging people to stay away from the building as it is extremely unsafe. Fortunately we haven’t received any reports of any injuries but I fear if this activity continues, it will only be a matter of time.
"We’re working with partners and have recently served a community protection warning notice on the land owner which gives them 28 days to re-secure the site. We’ve also spoken to the owner who has assured us that the site will be secured imminently.
"This behaviour is not only irresponsible but also illegal, we’ve increased patrols in the area in an effort to trace those involved."
Anyone with information can contact officers via an online live chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight, by calling 101 anytime or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.