POLICE are red faced after their new cell block was burgled twice in three days by thieves who stole copper piping from under their noses.

The £12.5million custody suite is under construction alongside Gloucestershire Police headquarters at Waterwells, Quedgeley.

It was raided first on Monday, August 18 and then again on Thursday 21 by brazen burglars who somehow managed to avoid detection on both occasions.

A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: "We can confirm that a very small quantity of copper was stolen in two incidents between Friday, August 15 and Saturday 16 and Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 from the new police custody block which is still being built at Waterwells.

"The building is still in the hands of the contractor and not yet handed over to Gloucestershire Police. At no point was any sensitive information at risk since the building is still not in use and contains no police information of any kind.

"The cost of the loss will be borne by the contractor and the project has not been delayed at all.

"Police are working closely with the contractor to investigate these incidents and to advise them on any recommended security measures "Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to phone 101 quoting Incident Numbers 237 of 18 August and 94 of 21 August and Crime Number 19094/14 "

The new cellblock facility will replace ageing and outdated cells at Gloucester and Cheltenham police stations. Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl approved the scheme at a Governance Board meeting earlier this year after capping the cost at nearly £12,500,000.

It will be capable of housing up to 50 detainees in secure accommodation, with CCTV in every cell to monitor them at all times.

It will also allow shorter admission waiting times and mean a quicker turnaround of police officers back onto patrol It should also lead to improved partnership working with other justice and health professionals, and it includes elements adopted by the Home Office as 'best practice'.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport said at the time construction got under way: "This is really good news for the force, as our current cells are only just fit for purpose."

Construction work is due to finish by the end of this year.