Scotland Yard has cautioned Indian and Asian-origin people in London against gangs of thieves targeting gold jewellery during Diwali celebrations, a time when many families wear traditional attire during community and other events.
Intelligence analysis has shown organised criminal networks are increasingly involved in lucrative 'family gold theft' which disproportionately affects Asian families across various hotspots across the capital, the Yard said.
Several Diwali celebrations have been planned across London and other towns with large presence of people of Indian origin. Indian and Asian-origin families have been the target of gold theft in several towns across Britain in recent years, particularly in Leicester.
The police said: “Unfortunately the festival period tends to see a spike in this type of crime largely due to more gold and jewellery being worn as the local community travel across London to different venues - whether temples, streets or other people's homes”.
It added: “Combined with the annual rise generally in burglary and robbery at this time of year as the nights draw in this makes Asian communities particularly vulnerable to thieves keen to cash in on the buoyant market for gold being sold through second hand outlets”.
Scotland yard has stepped up its efforts to combat the problem through Operation Nugget, a dedicated, specialist team working on driving down the numbers of offences and bringing more perpetrators to justice through a series of different initiatives.
Two recent victims of family gold crime, an elderly couple from Barnet, are still recovering from the traumatic experience of being robbed of around £10,000 of jewellery by two men who burst into their home on a weekday evening at the end of last month.
Victims Ranchhod Chudasama, 80, and his wife Kanta, 74, fear they will never again see treasured items including ones of great sentimental value that had been handed down through the generations.