Police officers give out crime prevention advice as they tackle family gold burglaries

Date published: 17 March 2024

In recent weeks, officers across GMP have responded to a number of burglaries that specifically target family gold.

Family gold is usually high purity, high-value gold jewellery – often bought as gifts in Asian communities and passed down through generations, holding significant sentimental value.

Offenders are committing these burglaries in teams of two or three, and usually enter the properties after families have left their homes to attend evening prayers. They are entering either through open windows or even going as far as smashing windows with objects found outside of the property, such as garden tools or bricks.

GMP is committed to pursuing offenders and has officers on targeted patrols in hotspot areas to prevent crime throughout the month of Ramadan.

A police spokesperson said: "We know that burglary is a personal crime and having jewellery stolen which has significant sentimental value can have a profound impact and be extremely upsetting to you and your family.

"Last week we spoke to a victim of a burglary, who wishes to remain anonymous, in Rochdale. Whilst on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he saw home footage which showed masked men ransacking his home, clearly looking for something specific."

The victim said: “The impact on my family has been immense, my place of safety no longer felt safe. We believe they were looking for gold, they were looking through pillowcases and emptied out our cupboards and drawers.

When asked what advice he would give to the local community, he said: “I want people to be more switched on with their home security, leave lights on to give the impression someone is home, it may deter them.”

Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Kenyon of GMP’s Operation Castle, said: “We know it’s a special time of the year for many, but sadly we know that criminals are using this as an opportunity to target homes to steal valuable family gold jewellery.

“Burglary is a very intrusive crime and not only does the theft of gold jewellery affect people financially, but these items often hold a lot of sentimental value too, having been passed down through generations.

“We are doing all we can by ensuring that we have proactive patrols in hotspot areas across Greater Manchester, but as always, the support of our communities is vital in helping us bring these people to justice.

“Please contact us if you see anyone acting suspiciously in your area, or if you know anything about burglary and the subsequent sale of stolen goods."

Police Constable Mohammed Latif of GMP’s Rochdale Neighbourhood Task Force, said: “We have seen there has been a spike in recorded family gold burglaries around this time of year in Rochdale but also in Oldham and Tameside.

“We have put specific operations in place to target prolific offending to ensure that we are proactive in our approach to tackle family gold burglaries around this time of year.

“We would also advise anyone with expensive jewellery in their homes to ensure it is safely locked away, out of sight. Simply hiding the jewellery is sadly not enough. A determined burglar will search high and low for items of high value. Ideally, you should remove jewellery from your home and secure it in a safe deposit box.

“However, if you would prefer to keep it at home, consider purchasing a good quality safe which compiles with insurance rating standards. It should be anchored to something immovable and fitted with a Limpit alarm.

“If you’re heading out in the evening, remember to ensure doors and windows locked, and remove any objects from outside your property that could potentially be used to break windows to gain entry. Tell your neighbours when you are out for the evening.

Further crime prevention advice can be found on the GMP web site.

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