Bur­glars are ‘tar­get­ing Asian community’s gold heir­looms’

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

PRO­FES­SIONAL bur­glars are us­ing high-pow­ered stolen cars to steal valu­able gold from the Asian community, po­lice have warned.

Asian fam­ily heir­looms are of­ten made of ex­pen­sive high-pu­rity gold and com­monly kept and dis­played in homes.

Of­fi­cers from South Wales Po­lice have been meet­ing with mem­bers of the community at the San­tan Dharma Man­dal and Community Cen­tre in Splott, Cardiff, to give advice on how to re­duce the risk of be­ing tar­geted.

The warn­ing comes af­ter a 26-year-old was re­cently jailed for three years fol­low­ing a po­lice oper­a­tion tar­get­ing sus­pects in high-value gold theft cases.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Lloyd Wil­liams said: “There’s a trend of bur­glar­ies which in­volve high-value gold, and a lot of the vic­tims are from the Asian community.

“If you see ex­pen­sive cars with mul­ti­ple peo­ple in them driv­ing slowly and look­ing around act­ing sus­pi­ciously, then ring us. We need to know that.”

Oper­a­tion Vi­o­let Ever­est re­cently tar­geted sus­pects in high-value gold theft cases, and of­fi­cers ar­rested eight peo­ple and seized 17 ve­hi­cles.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Jay Dave said: “We want to con­vict more so we can cut the head off.

“Th­ese type of bur­glar­ies can spread through word of mouth, so if the ‘boss’ is away then those lower down are less likely to do it.”

Po­lice be­lieve that the cur­rent method used by the bur­glars is for three or four sus­pects to en­ter an un­oc­cu­pied house by break­ing a back door or win­dow, be­fore con­duct­ing an “un­tidy” search for jewellery in the first floor rooms.

The sus­pects then flee the scene in a pow­er­ful stolen ve­hi­cle with false num­ber plates.

Po­lice said their in­tel­li­gence shows the gold is of­ten taken to il­le­gal traders and then smelted down to be sold again.

Of­fi­cers be­lieve that the prob­lem is UK-wide, with sus­pects of­ten trav­el­ling from afar to tar­get cer­tain houses.

Sus­pects will of­ten wear face­masks or bal­a­clavas and clean the scene with bleach to avoid leav­ing foren­sic traces.

Speak­ing to the community, po­lice rec­om­mended re­mov­ing high-value jewellery from homes and plac­ing it with a bank or safede­posit com­pany.

Luke Wall, 26, was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court in Jan­uary af­ter he ad­mit­ted steal­ing cash and jewellery worth thou­sands of pounds in a string of bur­glar­ies.

The court heard that Wall took 24-carat gold In­dian jewellery dur­ing one in­ci­dent and 22-carat gold rings and a neck­lace worth around £2,000 in an­other bur­glary.

Ed­ward Mitchard, de­fend­ing, ac­cepted his client had an “ex­ten­sive” crim­i­nal record but said there were no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for dwelling bur­glary.

Judge Richard Twom­low noted “very valu­able” prop­erty was taken.

Wall, from Went­loog Road in Cardiff, ad­mit­ted bur­glary and at­tempted bur­glary and was jailed for three years.

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