Sneak thieves operating in the Harrogate area

30 December 2012

robberHarrogate – A number of reports are coming in of sneak thieves entering domestic properties, either through unsecured doors or by effecting entry through force – bags and small items are being targeted.

This news item will be updated with specific details of incidences. It is worth taking extra precautions and taking note of the guidance from the North Yorkshire Police.


35% of all burglaries across England and Wales are committed by opportunist thieves


The advice issued by the North Yorkshire Police is as follows:

Remember to lock all your doors and windows, even if you are at home (make sure you know where the keys are)

  • Leave a light on when you go out
  • Hide all your valuables – including car keys – away from prying eyes.
  • Fit outside security lighting
  • Remove all tools, ladders and other implements from your garden as these can be used to break into your property
  • Review your boundary security, make sure your gates and fences are in good condition and that outbuildings, sheds and gates have sturdy locks.
  • When planning your garden, factor in thorny bushes around vulnerable boundaries
  • Trim your hedges to take advantage of natural surveillance by neighbours and try not to have heavy, lose objects in your garden such as rocks and bricks which can be used to break windows
  • Be nosey – report any suspicious people or vehicles in your neighbourhood. Many crimes are thwarted and people arrested after members of the public report unusual or suspicious activity to the police.
  • Take our security self assessment on the force website
  • Review your locks, upgrade your Euro-cylinder locks to one that is specifically designed to prevent lock snapping, known as Break Secure.


Consider fitting Euro-cylinders

Euro cylinders are mainly fitted to uPVC doors but some aluminium and wooden doors also use this type of lock.

If you have a Secured by Design door fitted after 2010 you can be confident that it will have a “Break Secure” lock. Please note this applies only to Secured by Design doors and not all doors.

A qualified locksmith can offer a full installation and upgrade service to meet your needs; or a replacement break secure euro cylinder can be purchased from any recognised DIY store.

All new cylinder locks should bear the new standard, TS007 which was introduced earlier this year.

If you have a traditional night-latch (commonly known as a Yale lock) fitted to your doors, do not rely on this as the only method of security. You must fit other locks, preferably deadlocks

The most common types of burglary are:

  • Sneak-in – opportunist and unplanned. Sneak-in burglaries tend to be committed by local offenders with a good knowledge of the local area. More often than not, these offences are opportunist with no pre-planning. Usually carried out by drug addicts to pay off their drug debts. They take full advantage of people who leave their valuables on show and doors and windows unlocked.
  • Two-in-one burglaries – “2 in 1 burglaries” are where the thieves break into a house to get their hands on the keys to vehicles parked on the drive. These offences tend to be organised and pre-planned and are usually committed by offenders from out of the county. Often the vehicles are stolen to order and only a small number are recovered, mainly in the West Yorkshire area. The Harrogate, Craven and Selby districts are often targeted by this type of criminal, travelling over force borders from West Yorkshire.
  • Forced entry – forced entry burglaries are usually organised with an element of planning and targeting with the offenders having an idea of the property they wish to steal.
  • Distraction burglaries – distraction burglaries are where the householder is tricked by a caller into allowing them into their home with the intention to steal from the property or deceive the householder into parting with property or cash. This is particularly distressing crime as offenders often target the elderly or vulnerable. Crimestoppers’ research shows the average age of a victim of distraction burglary is 81. Victims of distraction burglary can suffer physically and emotionally with some suffering a decline in health as a result of the trauma caused.


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