Home ransacked, cash, and personal documents stolen, by 'gang of travelling criminals'

Gangs.
Gangs.

A home's been ransacked and cash and personal documents stolen in separate overnight raids in Derry in what police believe was the work of a gang of travelling criminals that are currently being hunted by both the PSNI and An Garda Síochána.

Police said two homes were targeted in the overnight burglaries in two nearby suburbs.

Detective Constable Paul McDonald said: "We received a report at 8.55 p.m. last night of a burglary at a property in the St. John's Park area when it was reported entry had been forced sometime between 6 p.m. and the time it was reported to us. A sum of money was reported stolen.

"Around 11.45 p.m. we received a report entry had been forced to a house sometime between 8.15 p.m. and 11.45 p.m. in the Garden City area. Rooms inside the property were ransacked and a personal document was reported stolen.

"Our enquiries are ongoing, but we believe these two burglaries are linked at this time, and that a gang of travelling criminals are responsible.

“We believe the same travelling criminals are targeting homes, not just in the city but across Northern Ireland on the hunt for cash and jewellery. They are making it their business to break into homes and make money from stealing from their victims. They don’t care about the victims. They only care about the valuable items they can get."

DC McDonald said the modi operandi of these types of gangs is to target an area and then move on making it difficult for police to investigate.

“These travelling criminals leave us with few evidential opportunities to follow up on and that makes it difficult for us to identify them, which is why we need everybody’s help in ensuring they do not get away with their crimes.

“We are working closely with our partner agencies to catch these criminals, including our colleagues in An Garda Síochána, and I would ask anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles, or people acting suspiciously to call us. If you see something out of place at your neighbour’s house, and it arouses suspicion, pick up the phone and report it to us.

“Regarding the two burglaries last night in the city, in particular, I am appealing to anyone who was in the Garden City or St. John's Park areas between 6pm and 11:50pm and saw any suspicious behaviour, or noticed any strange vehicles in the area to contact detectives at Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1352 of 29/11/18," he said.

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.