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Police issue appeal after West Berkshire suffers worst burglary crimewave in 12 years





Police have launched a witness appeal and urged members of the public to contact them after West Berkshire has been hit by its worst burglary crimewave in 12 years.

There have been more than 20 burglaries within the district since the start of September, as well as several other break-ins across North Hampshire and the rest of Berkshire.

The burglaries have occurred in Newbury and Thatcham, and are typically in urban neighbourhoods but can occur in more rural areas as well.

Crime manager for West Berkshire DCI Emily Evans stated that police believe adult males are committing the offences in small groups.

Police have launched a witness appeal and urged members of the public to contact them after West Berkshire has been hit by its worst burglary crime wave in 12 years
Police have launched a witness appeal and urged members of the public to contact them after West Berkshire has been hit by its worst burglary crime wave in 12 years

She said: “We don’t know how they’re identifying the houses they are trying to hit, other than thinking there’s nobody there.

“When they are getting in, they are stealing a range of things. Jewellery, any high-value clothing, which they may try and sell on or keep for themselves.”

Money, jewellery and designer clothing are the items that are being targeted, with electrical items generally being left alone.

Officers said some vehicles have also been stolen during the incidents.

Police believe that the burglaries may be linked due to similarities in the way they are committed.

DCI Evans added: “The reason that we think we may be able to draw some connections is that they’re targeting the properties at teatime.

“They are also going round and gaining rear entry to the property so that disguises them from people passing by on the road.”

The offenders are gaining entry to different homes by either smashing windows to the rear of the property or forcing the back doors, and they are doing it in the late afternoon when it begins to get dark, typically when the house is empty before people return from work.

DCI Evans continued: “They must be making noise. We have had a couple of witnesses – neighbours from a couple of the burglaries – that didn’t call the police at the time, even though they noticed or heard some noise from next door.

“They just assumed they were doing DIY.

“Had they called us at the time, or looked out of their window, we may have had a chance to catch them.”

DI John Yallop is currently investigating the series of burglaries.

He said: “They are making probably a substantial amount of noise. They are not being subtle in this.

“I think members of the public probably don’t want to bother us if they are not sure what is happening, so they are not making that phone call.

“We really want to urge people that if they see or hear anything suspicious to actually call it in.”

The officers warned people not to confront any potential burglars and put themselves at risk, but encouraged them to call 999 if they believed they might be witnessing a crime in progress.

They also advised members of the public to be observant and contact police if they see anyone suspicious in their neighbourhood.

To better protect their properties from potential burglaries, DCI Evans advised making their homes look as if someone is in.

Methods to do this include employing timer light switches and making sure cars are being left on drives.

She also encouraged neighbours to talk to each other and look out for each other’s properties during this crime wave.

She added: “If we do get called to a crime in progress, we are making sure that we have enough staff to respond to that and to give a real high-quality service to the victims of those crimes and do our utmost to catch those responsible.”



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