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Spate of thefts in Newbury area prompts social media campaign

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At least eight incidents have been reported on a Facebook group, named Suspicious Activity in Newbury, Thatcham and Surrounding Areas, since January 20.
This includes an incident in Wolsingham Way, Thatcham, in which three bags of clothes were stolen, and in Station Road, also Thatcham, during which a bike and tools which were taken from a shed.
On Monday (Jan 26), security lights were ripped from a home in Enborne Road and discarded and the culprits only made off, without any items, when an attempted shed break-in set off the property’s burglar alarm.
One Greenham resident reported damage incurred to a cat flap at his property, and there were also reports of a satnav device being stolen from a car in Craven Road, Newbury.
On Tuesday, a resident of Elizabeth Avenue, Wash Common, reported that their gate had been marked with black spray paint.
This comes after Thames Valley Police increased patrols after numerous reports of graffiti signs, suspected to be code to burglars, appearing outside homes.
However, police stressed there was no evidence to link the graffiti with crime.
Suspicious activity has also been reported in Parkside Road, Thatcham, and in Lambourn.
The administrator behind the Facebook group posted this week: “The thieves are very active in Thatcham, Hermitage and Newbury.
“We need to be active in looking out for anything suspicious where you all live.
“If in doubt, 101, call them out
“Let's see if we can stomp this out.”
Chairwoman of Newbury and Thatcham Neighbourhood Watch, Angela Money, said: “If you see anyone shining a torch during the early hours of the morning and acting suspiciously, please phone the police immediately.
“These criminals are carrying out so many crimes at the moment and need to be caught.
“When going out, whether in the day or night, leave a radio on so that it appears somebody is in, lights on in evening and if [going] away, put a radio and some side lights on a timer.
“Don't leave any keys in doors. We always take all keys to our bedroom at night.”
At the time of the Newbury Weekly News going to press, Thames Valley Police had not confirmed further detail on any of the above incidents.
However, it was confirmed that a set of loppers, a garden fork and two cans of petrol were stolen in an incident at Hose Hill, Sulhamstead on Monday, at which a 52-year-old woman was threatened with the garden fork.
The incident occurred at around 6.40pm and the offender is described as a white man with an Irish accent, who was wearing a tartan flat cap, blue jeans, a green three quarter length coat, work boots, a scarf and dark gloves.
Anyone with information on any of these incidents should call Thames Valley Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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