Crimewatch appeal brings ‘encouraging’ leads in burglary hunt

DETECTIVES in North Yorkshire are following up “encouraging” calls after a Crimewatch appeal about an aggravated burglary near Harrogate which saw a family fearing for their lives.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of shotguns and jewellery were stolen in the raid on the Kempley family home in High Birstwith on December 6 last year.

The family relived their experience as part of an appeal on Monday’s Crimewatch programme. Since then, seven calls were made to the BBC1 show, and five calls were made to North Yorkshire Police.

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Det Insp Andrea Kell, said: “We have received some encouraging calls, particularly about the stolen jewellery. These will be followed up over the coming days.”

During the appeal, 16-year-old Ben Kempley recalled seeing two men in balaclavas threaten his mother and sister, before marching him through the house to identify valuables.

Jewellery worth more than £350,000, a Rolex watch and seven shotguns were among the haul, and the thieves drove off in the family’s white Porsche 911.

Ben said: “They were threatening me, they initially said they would kill my mum and sister. When you get told that by people you don’t know, by people in balaclavas with crowbars it is a serious threat.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with.”

Anyone with information should contact Harrogate CID or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.