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Police's response to burglary-hit street? Put up a sign...


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Police's response to burglary-hit street? Put up a sign...


Last updated at 10:10am on 2nd November 2006 commentIconSm.gif

Natashasign_228x739.jpgNatasha Dwyer, whose house was broken into, and the sign the police asked the residents to put up


Police have been lambasted by residents of a street where burglars targeted seven houses in four days.



The family homes, 150 yards apart in Belsize Park, London, all suffered burglaries or attempted break-ins in the early hours.

Yet the police response was to install notices on lamp posts that said: "Burglars operate in this area."

Today, furious residents of Glenmore Road said the burglars were "unbelievably professional", striking when they knew police shifts ended and homeowners would be asleep.

They said the police action was " completely uncoordinated," with several police stations dealing with the break-ins.

Frank Gould, whose BMW was stolen in one of the two raids on the third day - last Tuesday - said: "The police have been scandalously useless. Had we been told of the Sunday burglaries we wouldn't have been burgled.

"There was no sign of the police, which is disgraceful." The retired academic said his son's girlfriend had left the house in the early morning when the burglars were there but they had hidden from her. "It was only when I came down an hour and a half later that I found the window and front door open and our wallets and car keys gone," he said. "Someone could easily have been hurt."

Mr Gould, 69, added: "The police have been lamentably unco-ordinated. Our burglary was dealt with by one station and Sunday's by another. It was only when we heard of the other crimes and pointed out the similarities that the police linked them."

Pilates teacher Simone Jaffe, 39, and her financial adviser husband Richard, 46, had their convertible Mercedes stolen as well as golf clubs, a plasma TV and designer coats on the Sunday.

"It's horrific," she said. "It was 7am and we were all asleep. I know it's just possessions but I haven't slept since, I'm petrified.

"A neighbour saw a guy driving my car and when he came to tell us he found our door wide open. He told the police all the cameras the guy must have driven through but it seems they just couldn't give a damn."

The burglars tried to break into John Dwyer and his wife Natasha's house at 6.30am on the Wednesday but the alarm went off, scaring them away.

They later realised that a noise they heard the night before was the criminals unsealing a window stuck shut by paint.

"The audacity is amazing," said Mrs Dwyer, 29, a mother of two and businesswoman. "We were literally waiting for him because we heard he was working his way up the street. You'd think he'd be worried about increased police surveillance but he was obviously confident that nothing would happen.

"To be fair, the police were here in five minutes but they should have responded to the spate of burglaries before."

The Met said officers attended each house and that once a pattern emerged extra patrols were put on.

Aman had since been arrested on suspicion of burglary, police said.

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