Warning after spate of burglaries in north Essex targeting Asian families with expensive jewellery

PUBLISHED: 14:14 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:14 14 September 2017

Burglars are stealing jewellery from Essex homes (stock image). Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Burglars are stealing jewellery from Essex homes (stock image). Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Tens of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery has been stolen from the homes of Asian families across north Essex during a spate of targeted burglaries.

Detective Inspector Jim White has expressed his concern and has urged residents to be vigilant.

There were 13 burglaries in north Essex between May and July, in Colchester, Saffron Walden, Witham, Braintree, Chelmsford, Heybridge, Kirby Cross and three attempted burglaries.

In one case, two men broke into a property in Laburnum Crescent, Kirby Cross, at around 2.30pm on July 19 and threatened a 25-year-old man with a knife and what appeared to be a gun before stealing jewellery.

The victim attempted to stop the men but was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance, causing irritation to his face.

Burglars are believed to target specific homes, taking jewellery and cash and generally ignoring other valuable items.

Mr White said: “Asian traditions have always placed a strong emphasis on jewellery and investing in gold is a time-honoured practice as it plays an important role in many religious festivals as well as significant family occasions, with many items handed down through generations.

“These are not just valuable possessions; they are also of great sentimental worth and are a huge loss to their owners if such jewellery is taken.

“The spate of burglaries we have seen recently is a real concern for me and while we are doing everything we can to identify the criminals responsible, it’s also very important that residents do as much as possible to protect their property.”

A common theme of such burglaries is that criminals will carry out messy searches of the whole house, including the loft.

Residents are advised to take extra security measures and to keep jewellery hidden when worn in public.

Mr White added: “As criminals are believed to scope areas for homes that could be potential targets, I ask people to be aware of anybody acting suspiciously. If you are in any doubt, call police.

“Any information will help with our investigations into identifying and bringing those responsible for these burglaries to justice.”

Anyone with information, or anyone requiring home security advice, can call police 101.

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