Housebreaking and ransacking spree linked, police believe

Six burglaries in Derry during which doors and windows were smashed and homes ransacked were linked, police believe.

Wednesday, 5th September 2018, 8:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th September 2018, 5:48 am

The break-ins, which were carried out between Thursday and Tuesday across a wide area of the city, have been blamed on opportunist burglars.

Police have appealed for information after homes were targeted in Messines Park, Farmhill and Woodbrook in the city side, and Summer Meadows Manor and Woodburn Park in the Waterside.

Chief Inspector Jonny Hunter said: “We believe these burglaries are linked at this time. In each case, the burglar/s have used the same method to force entry to homes, by smashing a window or a door to get inside.

“Once inside they’ve ransacked the property and taken items they can flee with easily, such as cash and jewellery. Heavier, bulkier items such as television sets have been left behind. The burglar/s want to get in and out of the property as quickly as possible.

“In one of the burglaries reported to us at a house in the Farmhill area in the city side, sometime between 5.30pm on Saturday, 1 September and 12.50am on Sunday, 2 September the property was broken into and a sum of cash and a wedding ring and engagement ring were stolen.

“We know how upsetting it is for homeowners to have their private space violated in this fashion. Your home is a place where you deserve to feel safe and where your possessions should be protected.

“We are doing all we can to tackle this issue and have increased our patrols in the areas targeted. However, we also need the public’s help.

"For example, if you see an unusual vehicle parked or travelling on a road in your area, or strangers calling at houses, take a note of the vehicle registration number and a description of any vehicles and pass that information on to us.

“We also want you to look out for your neighbours. If you see someone hanging around their property, acting suspiciously, please tell us. Also, for residents in well-established residential areas, if you’re going on holiday tell your neighbours so they can keep an eye out for any strange callers to your home, or arrange for someone to check your property while you're gone.

“I also want to appeal to people to check your locks, not only on your house but on any outbuildings, garages and sheds in order to safeguard valuable equipment.

"Make sure your home is secure. Lock doors and windows. Never leave a garage or garden shed unlocked. Keep your valuables stored away safely, and never leave them where they can be seen through windows.

“It is extremely important you report any type of activity that raises your suspicions. It’s a good way to alert us so we can investigate, and it will also help deter criminals and reduce crime in your area.

“If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 101.”