Reminder to lock doors after spate of burglaries while people were in their gardens or out shopping
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Officers are warning people to ensure their properties are secure after four burglaries where people have entered via an unlocked door occurred in a matter of hours.
The incidents, in Coppenhall and Bradley, both near Stafford, Codsall, and Kingsley Holt, near Cheadle, all happened yesterday (Tuesday 18 May) afternoon.
The first was on Church Lane in Coppenhall at about 12.30pm. The victim, an elderly woman, was approached while working in her garden by a man wearing a high-vis jacket. He spoke to her about apparent roadworks happening in the area and the need for her to move her car due to lorries passing. While this happened, a second offender entered her property via an unsecured door and stole cash and jewellery.
The first man was described as white, aged between 30 and 40, about 5ft 9in tall and of stocky build. He was wearing dark trousers, a black bobble hat and a high-vis vest. Witnesses have described seeing a white or cream car nearby used by a man wearing high-vis and travelling with two other males.
The second incident was at about 1pm on Shredicote Lane in Bradley. A woman had left a door to her property unsecured while working in her garden. An unknown number of offenders have entered, conducted an untidy search and stolen bank cards and keys.
Between 1pm and 3pm, on Wood Road in Codsall, a third incident occurred. Here, an elderly woman left a door to her property unsecured while out shopping. An unknown number of offenders have entered, conducted an untidy search and stolen jewellery.
And at about 2pm on Churnet Valley Road in Kingsley Holt, an elderly woman left a door to her property unsecured while mowing her lawns. An offender has entered the house and stolen her handbag which contained her bank cards and cash.
Chief Inspector Giles Parsons, Staffordshire Police’s force lead for burglaries from residential properties, said: “These incidents seem to be mainly elderly females leaving their doors insecure, and if they do encounter the offender they have been distracted by them to allow others to enter the house.
“Cash, bank cards and jewellery have been stolen from these people, in what can only be described as despicable crimes.
“We would urge everyone to please ensure entrances to their properties are secure at all times to deter criminals who chance their hand and try doors to see if there is a way in.
“If an offender is confronted and claims to be from an organisation, always ask to see identification. If you are ever suspicious or have any doubts please do not let people into your property.
“To report any suspicious incidents such as this please message the force on social media or call 101 to pass on the details. In an emergency, always dial 999.”
To prevent yourself from falling victim to these criminals we are re-issuing the following advice to all residents:
- Make sure your front and back doors are locked at all times – even when you’re at home. If you’re answering the front door then make extra sure your back door is locked – as criminals could be working in pairs or groups.
- Before you answer the door it’s worth taking a second to think about whether you’re expecting anyone – if you can see who’s there before answering make sure you do.
- If you have a chain on your door – use it. Don’t remove it unless you’re absolutely certain that person is genuine.
- Tighten up security – focus on improving the protection given by doors, windows and fences to make it harder for anyone trying to break in.
- Keep all valuable items out of sight and, if possible, in a safe – if anyone does manage to get in safely stored items will make it much harder for them to find and take.
If anybody was in the area of these incidents at the times stated above and saw or heard anything suspicious, they are asked to message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter quoting incident number 285, 310, 390 and 415 of 18 May, call 101 or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more advice on protecting your home and making it secure, visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/