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A Neighbourhood Watch is being set up in Dartmouth Park after a spate of break-ins, thefts and vandalism.

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Over the past three weeks a catalogue of incidents has included thieves climbing up drainpipes to break into homes, windscreens being smashed, yobs running over the tops of cars, and thefts in and around Croftdown Road.

A £6,000 Ford transit van belonging to builder Joe Gentle, who is employed by many residents in the area, was also stolen, along with £5,000 worth of tools, on September 19.

Mr Gentle had left his keys in his fleece which had been hung up close to where he was working.

“They must have been watching me,” Mr Gentle said.

“I was coming up and down the stairs all day but must have been downstairs when my fleece disappeared.

“It’s hard to believe I didn’t hear anything. I was just about to leave work and go home. I walked up the stairs, looked up and the van was gone.

“I went haywire, running up and down the street looking for it. It has set me back about four or five weeks.”

Police said that since September 1 there have been five incidents reported to police in and around Dartmouth Park Road, which include car crime and robbery.

However, according to residents, there have been more incidents.

Donald Mitchell, chairman of the Croftdown Road Residents’ Association, said: “Up until about three weeks ago everything has been quiet. There hasn’t been a problem.

‘‘It now seems to have become a matter of concern. At the moment, it seems to be casual vandalism.”

It is now hoped that a Neighbourhood Watch will be set up to reassure people in the area.

A spokeswoman for Camden Police said: “Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods Team has been made aware of the incidents.

“They have since met with all of the individuals concerned. The team has begun work to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme for the area to help prevent further incidents.”

Police said that at a recent ward panel meeting, the area of Dartmouth Park was raised as a concern and it has now been made a priority for the team.

The spokeswoman added: “The team would urge anyone who is concerned about crime in the area to contact the team and to attend the future Neighbourhood Watch meeting.”

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