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Diwali in UK sees spike in jewellery thefts among Indian community

According to the Scotland Yard, the Diwali period tends to see a spike in gold theft due to more jewellery being worn as communities travel across London to different venues - whether temples or to other people's homes, 

world Updated: Oct 12, 2018 10:13 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
diwali in UK,Scotland Yard,gold thefts in UK
File photo of Diwali decorations at Leicester City Centre. The Scotland Yard has advised Asians and the Indian community to safeguard their gold and jewellery around Diwali period as there is a spike in thefts of gold during this period. (AFP File )

Protect your family gold, Scotland Yard advised ahead of Diwali, an increasingly prominent festival when members of the Indian community become targets of a spike in thefts in places such as London, Leicester and Birmingham.

During the last financial year, there were 1,891 burglaries involving Indian and Asian victims, in which 6,369 items of jewellery valued at nearly £9 million were stolen, Scotland Yard said. It listed the steps the community needs to take to protect their jewellery.

“The festival period tends to see a spike in this type of crime largely due to more jewellery being worn as communities travel across London to different venues - whether temples or to other people's homes,” the Yard said.

Detective constable Lisa Keely said:"Gold will continue to be highly desired by criminals due to the speed and anonymity with which it can be exchanged for large sums of cash. These pieces are not just valuable possessions, they are also of great sentimental value, and if stolen, would have a huge impact on owners.

"Our proactive measures to tackle these crimes have seen reductions in offences; however, there is more to be done. As part of this work, we urge Londoners to take action to safeguard their gold and jewellery by following our simple crime prevention advice."

The Yard cited the example of acouple in their 70s and 80s targeted earlier this year in their home by burglars, when they were watching television at Hampton Hill in Middlesex.

On hearingbanging from the hallway, the unnamed77-year-old woman went to investigate and found four male suspects.One of the suspects pushed her back into the lounge and made her sit down.

One male threatened her with a chisel by holding it against her neck and demanded to be shown to their “Asian gold”, while the others took the 82-year-old man upstairs and searched the house for jewellery.

Before leaving the property, the four masked men, all in dark clothing, stole a quantity of jewellery and cash valued at £1,260. This included wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, and bank cards. No arrests have been made.

The woman said: "These men came in through our open kitchen window and threatened my husband and I. They turned our house upside down and stole our jewellery, including my much loved wedding ring.”

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 10:13 IST