A GANG has been ransacking large houses in Swindon to try to cash in on rising gold prices.
Burglars have hit five homes since May and are said to have made off with a haul of jewellery worth £60,000 from one family.
The police are asking witnesses to come forward and are advising people on how to protect property.
British Asian families have been targeted across the country after a six-fold rise in gold since the recession.
But police, who say the number of burglaries in Swindon remains low, do not believe any one distinct group is being targeted in the town.
One victim, who did not want to be named, said: “My home was ransacked, completely trashed. It was obvious what they were looking for as they left a lot of high-value electronic items. They didn’t find any jewellery but took some cash. Other people have come off worse though.
“One business owner lost £60,000 worth of jewellery. He is utterly devastated.”
A gang is believed to be responsible as three people were spotted at the scene of one of the crimes. No arrests have been made so far.
Det Con Rachel Hardy said: “A very small proportion of burglaries this summer have been of large detached houses.
“We are currently speaking with community groups to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to protect their property.
“This type of burglary has been seen across the UK and is not unique to Swindon due to the current high value of gold.”
Anyone with information should call Wiltshire police on 101 and ask for the Swindon Priority Crime Team.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Keep doors locked even when you are at home and always ensure all windows and doors are shut and locked when you go out.
- If you have window locks ensure you remove the keys from the windows and keep in a safe place.
- Don’t leave keys in door locks.
- Don’t leave keys hanging close to doors or windows where they could be unhooked and taken.
- Don’t leave valuables in sight of doors and windows.
- If you have an integral garage on your house keep it locked, included the door into your house from the garage.
- If you have an alarm ensure you set it when you go out and go to bed.
- Get a safe to keep valuables in. Put the safe somewhere difficult to find.
- Install motion-activated external lights to illuminate dark areas of your garden.
- Keep garden gates locked.
- Mark your property with a UV marker pen.
- Make an inventory of the make, model and serial numbers of items such as laptops, TVs and mobile phones. This information can be registered using www.immobilise.com.
- Make an inventory of your jewellery and take photographs of it.
- If you are going away on holiday, lock your house. Ask a friend to check on it and take in your post. Tell a neighbour your trust you are going on holiday and give them an emergency number to contact you in case of any incident.
- Make sure your car is locked and nothing valuable is left in it.