POLICE are warning Warrington residents to be vigilant following a recent spate of domestic burglaries in which gold jewellery appears to have been targeted.
The vast majority of burglaries have taken place in the Great Sankey area west of Warrington while the occupants have been out.
Most of the offences have been committed between 6pm and 8pm and have seen burglars forcing their way into properties and stealing jewellery, particularly gold items.
The most recent burglaries saw a property in Sanderson Close and a house in Kintore Drive broken into between around 7.20pm and 7.35pm on Wednesday 7 March. Jewellery and cash were stolen.
Police are urging anyone with information about any of the burglaries to come forward and are assuring residents that they are doing everything they can to catch the people responsible and bring them to justice.
Cheshire Police Crime Manager Michael Ankers said: “There has been a spate of burglaries in Warrington west in recent months in which gold jewellery appears to have been the target.
“We believe that the people carrying out these burglaries are highly organised and that they may be travelling into Warrington to break into properties they think are likely to contain gold and other valuables.
“We are carrying out extensive investigations into these crimes and doing everything in our power to identify the people responsible, to bring them to justice and stop these burglaries from happening.
“We have substantially increased the police presence in Warrington west and are speaking with community groups and residents to urge them to not leave gold jewellery, cash or other valuables in their homes, to be as security conscious as possible and to report any suspicious activity they witness to us straight away.
“Thankfully many people have taken this on board and removed safes, gold jewellery and cash from their properties and put them in secure locations.
“Some people have even had both external and internal CCTV cameras fitted at their homes, bought safes to keep their valuables in and invested in having their patio doors and other entrance points reinforced.
“But the main things you can do is ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your property when are out – and do the same for them – and to generally keep an eye out for suspicious activity and call us if they you any concerns.
“If you see anything suspicious, we want to hear from you.
“We are also keen to speak to anyone who witnessed any of the burglaries in the west of Warrington or thinks they may have other information that may help us with our investigations.
“If you think you can help us please call Cheshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
There are a number of simple steps you can take to help protect your valuable jewellery:
•Make sure that all your windows and doors and kept locked, especially when you are out.
•Ensure that your home looks ‘lived in′, even if you are out. Consider using timer switches for lights to give the impression that someone is at home.
•Keep jewellery in a safe and secure place when it is not being worn – burglars will look everywhere, including in cupboards, garages and your loft space.
•Do not keep a significant amount of jewellery in your home. Put it in a more secure location, such as a safety deposit box – speak to your local bank to find out what is available.
•Ensure that your jewellery is insured and that you have agreed valuations from your insurance company.
•Register your jewellery with a national database such as Immobilise. That way if the police recover it they will be able to return it to you. You can register jewellery for free at www.immobilise.com.
•Keep good records of all the jewellery that you own − make a list with written descriptions and include photographs (with jewellery pictured against a ruler to give an indication of its size). If your jewellery is stolen this will make it much easier for it to be identified as yours should it be recovered by the police.
•Be wary when answering the door to unexpected or uninvited visitors and always ask to see identification. If you are unsure of the validity of the caller then contact the organisation they are claiming to be from. Genuine callers will not mind you doing this.
•Sign up to Homewatch Alert to receive timely updates about crime and policing in your area.
•Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity at your neighbours’ properties when they are out or away and ask them to do the same for you.
•Report any suspicious activity to the police.
For more advice on keeping your home safe and secure visit www.cheshire.police.uk or call 101 and ask to speak to your local crime reduction advisor.