A burglar has scaled up scaffolding to steal from the seventh floor of a Southampton high-rise, leaving residents saying: “We told you so.”
Police believe at least one thief, possibly disguised as a workman, climbed up the scaffolding surrounding Oslo Towers in Weston to break into a flat through a balcony door.
Two PlayStation2 consoles, various games and fishing equipment were stolen.
It comes after residents of neighbouring flats raised security fears in March, when children as young as nine were seen risking their lives by climbing up 100ft high scaffolding.
People living in Hampton and Havre Towers warned it was too easy for people to get on to it and reported to police people prowling around the scaffolding at night, peering into properties.
The six tower blocks in International Way, Weston, are undergoing a £9m refurbishment programme to give them new heating, insulation and windows.
The council previously insisted the sites were secure with netting to prevent falls and access, and said it was residents who were climbing on to the scaffolding.
Woolston ward councillor Warwick Payne, then in opposition, said the council should look at introducing security patrols, and check it was doing everything it could to secure the sites, as it was important residents felt safe in their homes.
Last night Cllr Payne, now the council’s housing boss, said: “Crimes like this will not be tolerated on our housing blocks.
“The towers at Weston Shore were the first to be fitted with concierge systems, which include security cameras that show who is entering and leaving the buildings, as well as cameras that cover quite a lot of the area around the buildings.
“In the past they have helped secure prosecutions and we would be happy to work with police to see if that may be possible in this instance.
“The security at these towers is a lot better than it used to be, but if residents are concerned about security then we are happy to talk to them and look at the issue again.
“It is important that residents feel safe in their homes.”
Andrew Walcroft, 48, who lives on the 11th floor of neighbouring Hampton Towers, said: “It doesn’t surprise me one bit that this has happened.
“I’ve said from the word go that we should have some extra security here but no one has listened.
“I’m scared of going out and leaving my flat empty, and I’m not the only one. Everyone is worried about it.
“But there is no deterrent at the moment to stop people doing this.”
Police said a door that was forced to gain entry had been screwed shut by contractors during the refurbishment. The break-in happened between June 13 and 11.30am on Saturday.
Detective Constable Tom Hewitt said: “There’s a good chance people will have seen whoever did this burglary climbing on scaffolding to gain entry to this flat.
“It’s likely they wouldn’t have been dressed in the same way as the workmen so may have stood out.
“I’d ask anyone who thinks they have seen anyone suspicious climbing the scaffolding between June 13 and 23 to contact me. I’d also like to hear from anyone else with information about the burglary.
“What the burglar did also means they put themselves in danger and potentially others too. I’d like to remind people not to climb the scaffolding for everyone’s safety.”
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call Det Con Hewitt at Bitterne CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.