Flashback: Light-fingered shoppers, bank robbers and a factory relocating

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

60-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

60-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library


Light-fingered gentlemen, with only 11 more thieving days to Christmas, were stepping up their seasonal “shopping”.

They garnered goods worth nearly £2,000, according to Romford CID Det Ch Insp Victor Cook.

Shops, houses, a factory and a Romford school had already been visited.

Thefts of cigarettes alone accounted for almost £1,190 worth of the missing property.

More than £300 in cash had disappeared.

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Jewellery worth £100 was taken from Hornchurch.

Sewing machines, silverware and a tape recorder, together with £300, were missing from Heath Park Girls’ School in Romford.

But Elm Park tobaccomists Hollick’s, suffered the biggest loss.

After removing glass from a door and forcing iron bars, thieves took 100,000 cigarettes worth £1,000.


Raiders wielding sawn-off shotguns held up Securicor men as they were making a collection at Lloyds Bank in Station Lane, Upminster.

They struck at 9.35am outside the bank and within minutes, police launched an air search for the three me who escaped with £9,500.

Following a fierce struggle with Securicor men, in which the thieves’ getaway car, an Austin 1100, had a rear window smashed, the robbers drove off along St Mary’s Lane.

The Securicor men gave chase in their van but lost the Austin in traffic.

An off-duty police officer saw the raiders switch cars to a brown Rover in Greenbanks, Cranham.

A helicopter was circling around the scene in minutes and followed what looked like a brown Rover but it turned out to be a brown Triumph.


One of Havering’s major employers was in talks with Havering Council after revealing that its factory had to be relocated, in or out of the borough.

BAC Windows, which employed more than 500 people at its factory in Eastern Avenue, Romford, said it had reached the limit of the facility’s capacity and had to move out in order to expand.

BAC founder and chairman Eddie Coventry said: “We are a healthy company with great growth potential in a very competitve market.

“At the moment, we operate on three levels, with a star-shaped production flow, which is crazy.

“To expand, we must move to another site.”

The double-glazing company, which had a turnover of £50 million in 1996, wanted to sell its five-acre site to a developer, to be turned into a non-food retail park, creating 175 jobs.

With the proceeds, BAC would have bought land and built a modern factory, hopefully within the borough.