Groups are showing "no boundaries" in attacks on the Asian community in Northamptonshire, a police chief has warned after reports 13 families have been subject to “gold” burglaries this month.
In total, since November there has been 34 incidents in Northamptonshire where Asian family homes have been targeted for high-value goods.
Police say groups of up to eight men at a time are entering homes before demanding to know where families keep high-value items, mainly gold. Often the raiders are using violent tactics to get their hands on goods and one occasion a child was injured.
Detective Superintendent Dennis Murray of Northamptonshire Police is now urging families to take extra precautions such as putting valuable items in safety deposit boxes and being careful when answering the front door.
He said: “In the last two months we have seen a serious rise in the number of burglaries in and around the community.
“These burglaries are clearly targeted at individuals and it is clear that the individuals involved are doing some sort of research.
“They seem to know the premises they are going to have valuables there.”
Det Supt Murray said the offenders are showing “no boundaries” in the way the sickening attacks are being carried out.
He said: “What we are seeing is escalating levels of violence or threats of violence during the course of these burglaries.
“On one occasion they used violence against children.”
Det Supt Murray said the force was throwing extra resources at tackling the Asian gold burglars.
Officers have been carrying out extra patrols in the predominantly Asian area of Northampton, Kettering and East Northamptonshire.
He also said the force was working with regional and national colleagues to see if there were links between the offences across county borders.
A 26-year-old man was arrested and bailed last week in relation to a burglary but so far no items have been recovered.
This, the police chief said, could be because the gold is being sold on quickly and melted
Det Supt Murray said he did not believe just one group of individuals were behind the attack.
But he said the recent swathe of offences bore similar hallmarks.
The criminals are entering homes in groups before demanding to see where valuables and gold are kept.
“There is clearly an element of pre-planning in what we are seeing,” he said. “It is clear these individuals are getting their knowledge of the homes keeping gold from somewhere.”
There will be a public meeting at the police headquarters at Wootton Hall on Thursday, March 22, which anyone concerned about Asian gold thefts in their area can attend.
If you have any information about similar burglaries in your area, call the force on 101.