Friday, 24 October 2014
Thames Valley Police is asking local businesses in the South and Vale Local Police Area (LPA) to raise their awareness after a series of burglaries in which safes were targeted.
There have been three night-time burglaries in recent weeks which officers believe may be part of a series by the same offenders targeting commercial premises.
The first was in Uffington at about 1.15am on Thursday 16 October. Offenders gained entry by forcing the doors of the Post Office in Broad Street. Once inside, they conducted an untidy search and stole cigarettes and tobacco.
In the second, thieves targeted the Timpson store in the Marcham Road, Abingdon branch of Tesco. Between 6.50pm and 11.25pm on 17 October, offenders forced open the security door at the entrance of the store and then forced the till and the safe. They stole cash, an IPhone and two watches from the safe.
In the most recent offence, thieves forced open the back door of Sweet Fuels Ltd in Challow, near Wantage and stole a safe from the front office overnight between 20 and 21 October.
Inspector Mark Harling, Deputy LPA Commander for South and Vale, said: “We are linking these offences to a number of other offences that have occurred at Shrivenham, Rowstock and Chilton and believe that these are part of a broader series of offences that have been occurring in other parts of the Thames Valley and in other force areas including Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire.
“The criminals seem to be targeting commercial premises in remote areas, including industrial units and fast food outlets. The investigation into these offences is ongoing with a number of detectives working on the enquiry and liaising with surrounding police forces. Additional patrols have been allocated to the area and will continue until the offenders are identified.
“It is believed that the offenders are visiting the attacked premises prior the offences occurring in order to plan the burglary and we would therefore ask business owners to be vigilant and report any suspicious incidents or visitors to the police. We believe that the offenders may have access to 4x4 style vehicles and on some of the offences two similar 4x4 vehicles have been seen travelling in convoy away from the burglaries.
There are a number of steps business owners can take to help to prevent these offences, including not keeping cash on the premises overnight, making sure their CCTV is working and of a good quality, and using Smartwater to security mark their property. Our local neighbourhood teams and crime reduction advisors are available to visit businesses and give crime reduction advice and tips on how to improve security.
Anyone who has any information about the burglary or wants to report suspicious activity should contact Thames Valley Police via the non-emergency number, 101.
Posted by Steve English at 18:02