Crime spree sparks call for action

By <b>Ian Dipple Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 08/12 13:34

CALLS have been made for police patrols to be stepped up in Alvechurch after a crime spree in the village.

In recent weeks there has been a spike in burglaries, car break-ins and other thefts sparking anger amongst residents that not enough is being done to deter thieves.

Police are putting the rise in crime down to the time of the year but many villagers say they cannot remember a similar situation occurring in the past. Of particular concern is many of the burglaries appear to be happening during the daytime in what is a close-knit community.

Adam Palethorpe, who has lived in the village for 20 years, has been trying to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to be vigilant through the Alvechurch Village Society Facebook page, where many reports of break-ins are being posted.

He said he had counted more than 15 reports of burglaries and other thefts in the last three to four weeks.

“I’ve lived in the village 20 years and I’ve never heard of anything like this,” he said.

“Everybody knows everybody, you can’t go to the village shop without meeting somebody you know and so it’s just a bit of a shock no-one knows what’s going on.”

Official police figures show the number of burglaries did rise from one to five between October and November while there were three incidents of vehicle crime in both months. But Mr Palethorpe said he suspected the actual figures were much higher as many people were just not reporting incidents.

Coun Roger Hollingworth, who represents the village on Bromsgrove District Council, said it was too easy to blame the police and he had confidence they would get the situation under control.

Among the most recent burglaries was a break-in at a home in School Lane at 4.30pm last Tuesday (November 26) after thieves got in through the back garden and stole jewellery, including some of great sentimental value.

About two hours later another burglary was discovered in Redditch Road where rooms had been searched and two Dell laptops stolen along with 500 Euros. Police believe the break-ins may be linked.

PC Simon Albutt, from the Safer Neighbourhood Team, said generally there was a rise in burglaries over Christmas and New Year and urged people to take security measures including locking doors and windows, ensuring lights are on when dusk falls, not leaving wrapped presents under the Christmas tree and not leaving boxes on show outside advertising their are expensive items inside.

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