Seven houses burgled in weekend raids

PSNI
PSNI

Seven houses have been raided in a spate of burglaries in Derry over the weekend.

The PSNI believe some of the burglaries may have been linked.

Chief Inspector Simon Ball said: “We are currently investigating seven burglaries that took place between Friday and Saturday evening in Derry.

"While we believe some of these burglaries may be linked, we are keeping an open mind and continuing to investigate all of these incidents.

“Good police work means that we have already arrested a 15 year old male and charged an 18 year old man in connection with a burglary.

"While our enquiries are ongoing, we would also appeal to the public to come forward with any information they have."

Chief Inspector Ball said he believed two raids in Culmore were connected.

“We are treating as linked two burglaries that took place at residential properties in the Clonliffe Park area of the city on Friday, January 26.

"The first was reported to police at around 6pm. Entry was gained to the house and some pieces of gold jewellery stolen.

"Just over three hours later, at around 9.30pm, another house in the area was entered and a number of items of jewellery were taken.

“On Saturday, January 27 another burglary was reported in the Ardground Road area of the city. In this incident, the house was entered sometime overnight and car keys taken. A black Landrover Discovery was then stolen from outside the property.

“Later, at around 1.00pm, we received a report of a burglary in the Carleton Court area. On this occasion, two males were disturbed by the householder and left the property empty-handed.

"A 15 year old male was subsequently arrested on suspicion of a number of offences, including burglary with intent to steal, interference with vehicles, criminal damage and theft.

"He is currently in custody helping with our enquiries. An 18 year old also arrested has been charged with attempted burglary and is due to appear at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, Monday, January 29. As is normal procedure, these charges will be reviewed by the PPS.

“At 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon, a burglary was reported to us in the Belgrave Park area of the city. Entry had been gained to the property while the homeowner was out and rooms in the house ransacked. We believe some items of jewellery may have been taken.

“Just before 7pm, a house in the Woodbrook area was broken into and the house ransacked. No-one was in the house at the time. And then just after 9pm, a further burglary was reported in the Belvedere Park area of the city. We believe entry was gained to this property while the householder was out. A number of rooms were ransacked and items of jewellery taken."

Chief Inspector Ball has urged members of the public to report any suspicious activity to police immediately and said: "No matter how insignificant it may seem, if you have any concerns about unknown person or vehicles in your area please report it to your local police and allow us to investigate.

"It could help deter criminals and reduce crime in your area. I would particularly appeal to members of the public to be aware of cold callers at your door.

"Not all are rogue traders – but unfortunately some are. Most callers at your door will be genuine but some could be trying to gain access to look around your property, or check the level of security at people’s homes or sell or charge you too much for poor quality or non-existent work.

"If something doesn't seem right, take a note of the vehicle registration number and a description of any vehicles that cause you any concern, and pass that information onto police.

“We would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in any of these areas between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening – or who has information that could be useful to our investigation into these burglaries to get in touch with us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 640 of 27/01/18.

"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."

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

"Remember that the free Quick Check service is available by phoning 101 to check if callers are genuine and ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ stickers are also available on request from your local Crime Prevention Officer by calling 101 or from the Policing and Community Safety Partnership by calling 0300 0300 900."

Chief Inspector Ball also offered some simple and straightforward advice to householders to help ‘beat the burglar’ and keep you, your property and your possessions safe:

1. Close and lock all doors and windows even if you are only going out for a few minutes.

2. Leave a light on if it will be dark before you get home. Consider security lights. To a burglar, a dark house is an empty house.

3. Keep your valuables out of sight.

4. Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away from home.

5. Don’t leave car keys near your door, letterbox or windows.

6. Always check who is at the door. Not sure? Don’t open the door.

7. Set your alarm when going out. If you do not have an alarm, consider installing one.

8. Ask a neighbour or a friend to check your property and to remove post from the porch/hallway.

9. Inform police if your house is to be vacant for any length of time.

10. Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked and secure ladders.