BURGLARS ARMED with blowtorches are melting uPVC doors to steal keys to expensive cars in North and West Yorkshire.
Police in the North Yorkshire district of Craven are urging residents to consider changing any vulnerable locks, after a spate of so-called Hanoi burglaries in the area.
Since February, 35 homes, sheds and outbuildings have been burgled across the Craven district. Eight of these burglaries have involved criminals using a blowtorch on a uPVC door to expose the lock and then break into the property.
The properties which have been targeted are in the Sutton-in-Craven and Crosshills areas, with similar incidents being reported over the border in Keighley and Bradford.
In most cases, the properties burgled have had an expensive car on the driveway and thieves have gained access to the property and gone on to take the car keys and make off with the vehicle.
Craven Inspector Geoff Crocker said people should be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.
He said: "I want to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to apprehend the criminals who are committing these crimes.
“We are actively targeting the border we share with West Yorkshire and my officers are carrying out high visibility patrols. Our investigations are ongoing to locate those responsible and bring them to justice.
“However, communities defeat crime by working together. Let’s make it as hard as possible for these criminals to target our area. That’s why I am appealing to the public to report any suspicious behaviour they witness to police on 101, or in the case of an emergency via 999.
“I would also recommend that residents review their home security arrangements and consider having snapsafe locks fitted to external doors front back and patio doors. Euro-cylinder locks can be fitted to wood as well as uPVC doors, so it’s advisable to check. All DIY stores carry replacement Euro-cylinder locks and they are quite straightforward and easy to replace.
“If you do need any help with door or window locks, Craven District Council, working with Yorkshire Housing Home Improvement Agency and Police, are currently running a scheme which could assist. Funding, made available by the Police and Crime Commissioner, is available for residents who can apply for free locks to improve the overall level of their home security. More information is available on the Craven District Council website, www.cravendc.gov.uk, or by calling 0345 366 4405.
“Compared to the rest of the UK, Craven is still one of the safest places in the country, with the levels of crime and burglary down in comparison to previous years. However, I realise this is of little comfort to those whose homes have been invaded.
"We are not complacent and are doing everything we can to keep Craven safe and appreciate the steps residents take themselves to protect their property.”