Search

Hampstead Garden Suburb residents ‘turn homes into Fort Knox’ to shield from moped burglars

11:00 13 February 2014

Thieves on mopeds are targeting homes in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Picture: PA Wire/Metropolitan Police.

Thieves on mopeds are targeting homes in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Picture: PA Wire/Metropolitan Police.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Burglars roaming the streets of Hampstead Garden Suburb and laying siege to homes have forced families to fit bars onto windows and reinforce front doors to protect their properties.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

A mother-of-two told the Ham&High she was aware of 12 burglaries in the Suburb since Christmas, including thieves ramming open front doors with their mopeds.

The woman, who lives in Gurney Drive and does not wish to be named, witnessed the terrifying sight of a helmet-clad intruder prowling through a neighbour’s home after seeing two men circling on mopeds.

She said: “They were driving up Gurney Drive and they slowed down and looked at my house. It was as if I wasn’t standing there.

“When they came round a second time I was in a bush on the phone to the police. I saw the lights go on in my neighbour’s house and I saw a man in a black helmet walking around in the house.”

Within minutes of the burglary on the evening of January 30, a police helicopter was circling Gurney Drive and officers attended on the ground, but were unable to catch the thieves.

The woman added: “You’d think it was Baghdad or the Gorbals, you don’t think in Hampstead Garden Suburb and The Bishops Avenue, you’re going to hear a police helicopter.

“I’m scared I could get burgled at any minute. It’s horrific what is going on.”

Residents are reportedly turning their houses into “Fort Knox”, spending thousands of pounds on state-of-the-art alarm systems, steel bars for front doors and metal bars for windows.

It is thought the burglary spree in the Suburb began in September when thieves rammed open the front door of a home in Brookland Rise with a moped and then ransacked the house while the elderly owner was sat in her chair.

Shockingly, a month later, the elderly lady suffered a second break-in as thieves rammed down her front door with a moped again before stealing valuables and fleeing.

In December, a foreign embassy, in Winnington Road, was targeted by thieves on a moped.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer said Barnet police were working with officers in Camden who were investigating similar burglaries. He said the police forces were working on intelligence-gathering.

He said: “This is a methodology that they have not come across before in using mopeds to try and ram front doors and then, because suspects are on mopeds, they are able to escape quickly down alleyways, making it difficult for police to pursue by car.

“It’s very high-profile and it’s very distressing. The police will catch these people but residents need to take precautions.”

Det Insp Paul Murray said: “We have not seen an increase in burglaries in the N2/NW11 area but an increase in the number cases where suspects are using mopeds, although this has seemed to have tailed off over the past couple of weeks.

“This is not a problem affecting only the residents in this area, but is a cross borough issue.

“We are working closely with colleagues in Camden, Islington and Haringey, who also experience this type of crime, to see if incidents are linked. Gathered and shared intelligence will assist us in implementing operations to tackle the problem.

“Extra patrols have been introduced and robbery car patrols have been directed to the area, as well as ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Reader) cars. There are proactive measures in place to identify the suspects behind these burglaries.

“Our advice to people is to ensure they have a sturdy front door with good locks. Keep gates closed and locked at all times where practicable. If they have an open driveway maybe think about having a chain or gates placed across them.

“We are asking residents to be vigilant and to report any sightings of people acting suspiciously on mopeds to police.”

Last month, the Ham&High reported that research from price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com found the N2 postcode, including the Suburb and East Finchley, had the fifth highest rate of home insurance claims for burglary in the country.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Neighbours are

Neighbours in Gospel Oak say they are “still friends” after publicly airing their difference of opinion over the Brexit question.

An artist's impression of the cycling superhighway in Avenue Road

Camden Council has called on Transport for London (TfL) to conduct further traffic modelling for the propsed Cycle-Superhighway (CS11) scheme to take account of the likely impact of High Speed Rail (HS2).

Yesterday, 18:54
The Old White Bear pub in Hampstead

Developers who own the derelict Old White Bear pub in Hampstead have been ordered to take down scaffolding at the historic building by the end of the week or face enforcement action by Camden Council.

Tue, 17:41
Tributes have been paid to actor Burt Kwouk

Tributes have been paid to renowned Hampstead actor Burt Kwouk, famous for his role in the Pink Panther films.

Tue, 17:15
Tom Franklin, former chair of the Camden Green Party, pictured with Sian Berry and other supporters outside court

Eight protesters cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest will not face a retrial after a judge refused an appeal lodged by the Crown.

Tue, 16:18
The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was one week old

The husband of a West Hampstead mum who has been held for 50 days in Iran without charge has hit out at the government for not doing enough to secure her release.

Tue, 14:04
Heather Brett, with her mother, Nora

A daughter is urging hospitals to prioritise dementia care after her 90-year-old mother had a “traumatic” experience at the Whittington.

Mon, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe