Detectives are investigating a series of burglaries across Hampshire in which high value jewellery has been stolen by the offenders.
Since the start of 2014 there have been 18 burglaries in which the target appears to have been jewellery, says police.
There have also been a number of reported attempted burglaries and suspicious incidents.
Just this month there have been seven reported incidents.
At around 4pm on Tuesday, April 8 a man went to a house on Eddy Road in Aldershot claiming to be from the water board.
While he was pretending to check pipes, four other offenders searched other rooms in the house but were witnessed by one of the occupants and were chased from the house having stolen cash.
One the same day entry was forced to a home on Marrowbrook Road in Farnborough between 9.30am and 6.20pm. A watch and a mobile phone were stolen.
There was also a report of an attempted burglary at around 5.30pm at a house on Birchett Road in Aldershot.
A man knocked on the door and when it was answered he asked to speak to a man called Mark but was told that there was no one of that name at the address.
The occupant thought the incident was suspicious due to the fact that the weather was quite warm and the man was wearing gloves and a thick jacket.
A further suspicious incident was reported at around 7.30pm the following day when three people knocked on the rear patio doors of a house on Reeves Road in Aldershot.
The occupant shouted to them that she wasn’t going to open the door and they left.
On Tuesday, April 22 around £10,000 worth of jewellery was stolen from a house on San Carlos Approach in Aldershot after entry was forced to the property between 5pm and 7pm.
At around 7.20pm on that day a man knocked on the door of a house on Hinstock Close in Farnborough and when the occupant answered he said he was looking for a man called Pete. When he was challenged he ran off and got into a grey car.
A further suspicious incident was reported at 7.30pm when a man was seen to be looking through the back fence of a home on Marrowbrook Lane in Farnborough.
He was approached by a neighbour and became aggressive. He then drove off in a grey BMW.
Detective Constable Rob Muir from Aldershot police station said: “We believe that the offenders are targeting homes for high value jewellery, often belonging to Asian families.
“There are two main methods that appear to be being used by the offenders, distraction burglaries in which the offenders claim to be from utility companies in order to gain access to the home and knocking on the door in order to see if someone is at home before forcing entry.
“We have been getting a number of reports of suspicious activity in which people have knocked at the door claiming to be looking for someone else or dressed in clothing that appears unusual for the weather.
“I would urge people in the area to continue reporting these suspicious incidents to the police by calling 999 at the time of the incident.
“I would also urge residents to follow these simple crime prevention tips to ensure their homes and their valuable property are as secure as possible:
- Ensure your jewellery is insured and kept in an insurance-rated safe, which is well hidden and secured to the floor or wall.
- Contact your insurance company for guidance. Ideally, you should contact your bank to see if it can be stored in a bank deposit box.
- Ensure that your property is fully secured. Take this opportunity to look around your property and consider improving any areas of poor security.
- Don’t be tempted to leave ground floor windows open at night when you are asleep.
- Make sure your home is kept secure at all times. Use window and door locks, as well as timers that switch lights on to make your home look occupied.
- If you have a house alarm, set it at night and when you leave your property.
- As with other valuables, do not leave jewellery on display.
- Photograph your jewellery. Place your valuables against a plain background with a ruler next to it to give an idea of size. Also take a photo of yourself with the jewellery, so you can prove it has been in your possession.
- If you keep a lot of high-valued jewellery at home, consider investing in a monitored alarm system.
- You might want to use a forensic marking solution to identify your jewellery. You should check with a specialist before marking antique jewellery.”
Anyone with information about these incidents should contact the Priority Crime team at Aldershot police station by calling 101.
If a crime or suspicious incident is in progress please call 999.
If you would like further crime prevention advice please contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team by calling 101.