Asians targeted by gold thieves

PUBLISHED: 15:55 02 March 2011 | UPDATED: 10:12 03 March 2011

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A SPATE of burglaries has left an Asian community reeling, with properties across North Herts targeted by gold raiders.

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Worshippers at the Ramgarhia Gurdwara, a Sikh temple, on Bearton Avenue, Hitchin, said they had been targeted and knew of several others who had been burgled in the past 18 months with the raiders specifically looking for gold or jewellery typically found in Indian households.

Sat Sandhu, whose home in Stevenage Road, Little Wymondley, was raided in January, said: "We want people to be aware of this and we're tempted to offer a reward.

"They have produced figures that crime rates are going down, but I don't think so. I hear every week that Asian houses are targeted."

Mrs Sandhu's husband, psychiatrist Dr Harmadan Singh Sandhu, has written to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and MP for Hitchin Peter Lilley concerned over Herts Polices perceived inaction on the alleged crime wave.

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He is not alone in his worry with a Letchworth GC housewife, who was recently burgled, echoing Dr Singh's concern in an email sent to The Comet. The woman, of Dents Close, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I have been a victim of this crime and it has left me helpless, scared and angry.

"It has left me scared in my own house and left my family life in turmoil and I want to find the answers and I want your help in this.

"This might come across as someone who is a victim and is just lashing out but in real fact it is someone who is very worried about the safety of my community."

Homes in Strathmore Avenue and Grove Road, Hitchin, and Wilbury Hills Road, in Letchworth GC, have also been burgled.

Inspector Jason Thorne, of the North Herts Safer Neighbourhoods team, said: "We have had 66 residential burglaries in North Herts since the start of this year, 14 of these burglaries have involved Sikh households.

"Theft of jewellery, some of which is Asian jewellery, unfortunately appears to be a trend that is happening nationally, not just locally.

"We are very much aware of burglaries targeting jewellery, in both Sikh and non-Sikh households, and would like to reassure the community that we take all reports of crime extremely seriously and will do everything we can to investigate them."

Police say one of the most recent burglaries occurred on February 22 in Letchworth where a quantity of jewellery was stolen.

A gold watch has since been recovered and two people have been arrested and interviewed on suspicion of burglary.

The suspects have been released due to insufficient evidence but police enquiries continue.

Hertfordshire Constabulary urge anyone with information to contact them on 0845 33 00 222 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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