Warning as thieves target 26 West Suffolk homes in last fortnight
Thieves have broken into 26 burglaries in towns and villages across West Suffolk in the last fortnight.
Police are appealing for witnesses and urging communities to be vigilant following the series of break-ins across Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury, Mid Suffolk and Babergh since November 21, which are similar in nature and detectives are exploring how many of them may be linked.
These crimes have typically taken place in rural locations, between the early afternoon and evening, at properties where the occupants have not been at home, and involved the offenders forcing entry. The items that are mainly being stolen are cash, jewellery and electrical items.
The burglaries have taken place in the following locations: Badwell Ash; Bardwell; Barking; Bradfield St Clare; Brandon (x2); Bury St Edmunds; Clare (x3); Culford; Fornham All Saints; Forward Green; Great Cornard; Hundon; Kedington; Lavenham (x2); Long Melford; Mildenhall; Moulton; Needham Market (x2); Nowton; Pakenham; and Ringshall.
Detective Inspector Andrew Smethurst, of Western Area CID, said: “We are appealing for local communities to be on the look-out for any suspicious behaviour in their villages and neighbourhoods and not to disregard persons or vehicles that appear unusual or out of place. This could include a suspicious vehicle outside your neighbour’s house or hearing the sound of glass smashing nearby.
“Note down the car registration number or description of any suspicious persons you may have seen and report it to us if you believe it to be unusual. These criminals may present themselves as genuine callers, so if their behaviour seems odd then let us know.”
Anyone with any information about these crimes, or who believes they may have witnessed any suspicious activity in their local community, is asked to contact Western Area CID on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
As the majority of the burglaries in this series involve houses being entered by force rather than because of insecurities, police are urging members of the public to be their eyes and ears and ‘See it, Hear it, Report it’.
By following a few simple steps, you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of burglary.
Lock all doors and remove the keys before leaving the house. This limits the amount of escape routes available to burglars.
Keep front doors locked even when you are at home and especially if you are in the back garden.
Close all windows fully before you leave the house, lock downstairs windows and remove the keys.
Use window limiters to allow air in instead of keeping windows fully open, even when you’re at home.
Install window locks on upstairs windows that can be easily accessed by a flat roof.
Lock back gates using a sturdy lock such as a closed shackle padlock to no less than CEN 3-4 security grade or 5 lever lock.
Leave low-energy lights on timers around the house and keep a radio on to make it seem as though someone is home.
‘Dusk-to-dawn’ sensored security lighting is a cheap, low cost way of making sure the front of your home or shed/outbuilding is well-lit.
Burglars often prefer to work in the dark to avoid detection. Stop burglars from hiding in your driveway and paths by installing an ambient security light that will not disturb neighbours.
Visible burglar alarms can make burglars think twice; get specialist advice and consult your insurance company.
Hedging and shrubs to the front of your property should be pruned to no higher than 1m and trim trees up from the ground to 2m. This will allow a clear line of sight across your property and will stop the garden being used as a hiding place.
Keep your valuables, jewellery, cash, passport and deeds to your property in a safe.
Never leave spare keys in an open place. Hide away to prevent them being stolen.
Keep dustbins and wheelie-bins away from fencing/gates as these can be used by thieves to climb into windows or used to escape.
Make sure valuables are property marked. Take photographs and keep a note of any serial numbers.
Don’t leave equipment and tools lying around that can be used by burglars to break into your home, such as hammers, shovels or gardening tools. Keep ladders locked away and out of sight.
For further crime prevention advice please visit the Suffolk Constabulary webpage www.suffolk.police.uk or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.