Gifts stolen in burglaries
THIEVES have been targeting a number of properties in Highworth over Christmas and people have returned home to find their presents stolen.
A spate of burglaries was reported in the area between December 16 and 31, in homes at The Willows, Grove Hill, Cricklade Way and Roman Way.
Jewellery and cash have been taken from the homes of elderly residents who were away during the holiday.
Sandra Higgins-Hughes, the beat manager for Highworth, is appealing for anyone who may have seen suspicious behaviour in the area to report it to Wiltshire Police.
“Our main concern is to reassure members of the public and to urge them to keep their personal belongings in a safe place,” she said.
“There have been no electrical items stolen, it has mainly been items of jewellery and money which have been taken.
“Although they were all reported separately, these could have all occurred in a single evening, but we cannot be sure precisely when. “Our burglary team are investigating what they can.”
The nature of each burglary means the police consider them to be linked.
“Most items taken seemed to be quite personal to the people who have been given them as presents,” said PC Higgins-Hughes. “All the burglaries have been quite similar in their nature, so they are all being looked at together. “There is always a possibility the offenders knew their victims, and we will look at all angles in the investigation.
“The value of many of the items is unknown, because many of them had been received as gifts.
“But many of the victims are of a mature age, so they will have taken on a more sentimental value.”
The offences have come as a suprise to residents in what is usually a peaceful neighbourhood.
“Highworth is one of the safest areas in Swindon, and we do not have a high crime rate,” said PC Higgins-Hughes. “This has stirred quite a few people up and caused some concern.
“We do all we can to reassure members of the public, and we are stepping up patrols in response to these offences.
“If people do see anything suspicious they should call it in immediately. “We have got to investigate every possibility. It could be strange vans or cars people have seen in the area in the run up to Christmas, and we need to narrow down every lead.
“The case is now with the dedicated crime team, and at this moment there are no developments in the investigation. “It is still ongoing, and we would urge anyone with information relating to this case to contact us in the first instance.
“To protect themselves people should put their valuables away so they are not readily visible from nearby footpaths or roads either in their house or their car.”
If you have any information relating to the offences contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or, alternatively, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, where information can be left anonymously.