Community leaders take action following ‘Asian Gold’ raids

Some members of the asian community are taking part in street patrols in St James and Spencer areas of Northampton.
Some members of the asian community are taking part in street patrols in St James and Spencer areas of Northampton.

A group of men in Northampton have restarted patrols of the St James and Spencer area of Northampton after a number of burglaries targeting Asian valuables.

In September 2012, members of the Bangladeshi community in Northampton took it upon themselves to start patrolling the streets after a spate of burglaries when so-called ‘Asian Gold’ was stolen.

Azizul Khan, one of the men taking part in the patrols, said he believed the community was having to do the police’s job for them in reassuring those affected.

He said: “We are just going out on the streets to reassure people that something is being done in a positive way.”

Mr Khan said their role was to offer support and help for people in the community, as well as acting as extra eyes and ears for the police and reporting anything suspicious.

“People are very disgruntled about what is happening. We feel we need to take action,” he said.

To try to allay the fears of the Asian community, Northamptonshire Police attended a meeting at the Spencer Dallington Community Centre on Monday night. During the meeting, Detective Kerry Powers revealed there had been 38 Asian gold burglaries in the Spencer area in 2013 but only three so far this year.

PC Tony Sereno encouraged people to follow six burglary prevention tips including lowering hedges, securing doors and side gates and installing lights and alarms on their properties.

The officers encouraged community members to join the newly launched StreetWatch scheme rather than carry out their own patrols

But Altab Ali, who attended the meeting, said he would like to see more police patrols in the afternoons when a lot of the burglaries had taken place. He said: “A lot of the burglaries have taken place during school hours when the house is empty or when the husband is at work.”

The daughter of an elderly couple who were the victim of a so-called Asian gold burglary said callous thieves stole money from the room of her late brother, who was only buried three weeks ago.

Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and gold was stolen from a property in St James Park Road by thieves who tricked their way into the property by pretending to be from the water board shortly after 2.30pm on March 12.

Khadija Begum said she believed the thieves had watched the property for two weeks and then deliberately picked a one hour period when her and two brothers were out of the house.

Ms Begum said her father was blind and had been in hospital for five days after he suffered a panic attack as a result of the burglary.

She said the burglary, which has left her mother without any of her wedding jewellery, came about a month after the death of her brother, whose body was found near a cycle path between Hunsbury and Sixfields.

She said: “People should be able to feel safe in their own homes. My dad is blind and heavily relies on the trust of other people, so this has made him feel even more vulnerable.

“The thieves were really callous and tricked their way and quickly stole the gold. We believe they may even have had metal detectors. They even stole £5 from my late brother’s room which I was going to give to charity.”

Two men knocked on the door of the house in St James Park Road. One of the men said the neighbouring property was having trouble with their water and asked to check the water pressure.

The first robber is described as clean shaven, aged between 40 and 45, about 5ft 6in and was stocky with short black hair. His accomplice was aged between 45 and 50, slim and about 5ft 8in. They fled the scene in a silver Mercedes.

Witnesses to this incident can call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.