Warning over thefts in hot weather

POLICE have issued a stark warning to homeowners after a spate of sneak-in burglaries.

They said warm weather has led to people leave doors and windows unlocked - and proved a golden opportunity for thieves.

Although homes have been targeted while the owners are out, in many cases items have been stolen while the owners are in the garden or upstairs.

Among the examples were:

- A thief took keys and cigarettes from a property in Bilton on June 27 after entering through an unlocked door while the owner was in the loft.

- An iPhone was stolen from a home in Bilton on June 30 after the culprit entered through an unsecured door.

- In Knaresborough, jewellery was taken from a bedroom.

- Overnight on June 30, bicycles were taken from an unlocked shed in the Hookstone area.

- Expensive cleaning equipment was stolen from a locked garage in Roecliffe.

- After taking house keys from an unlocked property in Boroughbridge, burglars returned to gain entry again and stole a set of car keys.

- Unlocked patio doors at a property in Bilton allowed burglars to gain entry at 1.30am and take car keys, a mobile phone, a handbag and bank cards. They then made off with the car.

- A property in Granby was targeted overnight, when culprits entered through an unlocked front door and took a laptop and Wellington boots.

PC Ed Rogerson of Harrogate police said: “The message we would like to get across is it’s going to be a nice weekend, enjoy the weather, but don’t become a victim of crime.

“It’s a nasty violation of privacy; it’s upsetting knowing someone has been in your house and gone through all your stuff.”

PC Rogerson urged anyone who sees anything suspicious to dial 99 immediately and to take down details such as clothing, physical appearance and car registration plates.

He added; “Harrogate is a very safe town and I think sometimes people let their guards down and they think it’s not going to happen to them.

“Even if it’s just hanging the washing on the line, it can be enough time for someone to sneak into your home.”