Serial burglar targets jewels

A LEAFY Sidmouth suburb has become a repeated target for a thieving prowler who stalks homes before striking.

A LEAFY Sidmouth suburb has become a repeated target for a thieving prowler who stalks homes before striking.

Police investigating a series of break-ins to expensive properties in the eastern town and Salcombe Hill area say 16 burglaries have taken place there since April.

Detectives believe a single culprit, who focuses on dwellings when homeowners are out or away, keeps coming back.

Residents in Hillside Road, Southway, Cliff Road and surrounding areas have been urged to watch out for suspicious behaviour.

The latest victims, in Laskeys Lane ,had lived in their new home for little more than a week before jetting off on holiday. The retired couple returned to find thousands of pounds worth of jewellery – of priceless sentimental value – had been stolen.

The burglar’s haul included a cherished gold watch given to the 67-year-old wife on her 21st birthday.

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The couple, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “You don’t expect to be burgled 10 days after you’ve moved in. It was shocking.

“The burglar ignored our laptop, but it would have been better if they’d taken it, or the television, because they don’t mean anything. That jewellery was irreplaceable.

“You think that if you’ve got double glazing and locked windows and doors that you’re safe. But they got in. Everything was still locked when we got back. It’s very clear this person can’t have any conscience.

“People who live nearby have since told us they’ve been burgled in the past.”

The break-in took place between September 2 and 17 while the couple were abroad.

“This ruined our holiday,” they added.

Detective Constable Chris Willsdon, of Hontion CID, said: “There is someone out there who is a repeat offender and seems to keep coming back.

“They will return two or three times in a month looking for unoccupied premises and when people come in and out.

“This person doesn’t want your television, they want jewellery so they can put it in their pocket and walk down the road.

“I would urge residents to remain vigilant and look out for anything out of the ordinary.”

Contact police with information by dialling 101, crime reference: KS/11/544.