A spate of burglaries are being characterised as a ‘mini crime wave’ and the police have increased their presence in the villages affected.
Since the beginning of October there have been four house burglaries in Scholes and one in Barwick-in-Elmet, and two ‘other’ burglaries in Barwick and one in Scholes.
This flurry of crimes follows a similar story in September when there were four burglaries in Scholes and three in Barwick.
Reacting to this dramatic rise, the police have stepped up their patrols in the area, using the helicopter as well as marked and unmarked cars.
Chair of Scholes and Barwick parish council Ben Hogan said: “Compared to some places the number of burglaries here is very good, but as far as our numbers are concerned it is a big increase.
“There has been a fairly big number of people being released on probation and that could be one of the causes, but for them to be doing it brazenly in daylight, driving up and bashing someone’s door in and emptying their front room is a bit much.
“The police have these unmarked cars out and have already had some success with them and hopefully they will be on top of it pretty quickly. They are just as concerned as we are.
“You would expect them to upgrade their response anyway in any village having a mini crime wave and that is exactly what they are doing in Barwick and Scholes.”
One offence took place in Wood Lane, Scholes, where a victim was repeatedly punched in the face by an assailant attempting to steal their mobile phone.
Four of the seven burglaries reported in the parish in September were house break-ins committed while residents were sleeping.
Sgt Simon Carbutt of West Yorkshire Police told the Wetherby News that the response of additional high-visibility patrols is to reassure the public.
“Also during the evenings there have been increased proactive patrols in an effort to prevent further offences being committed,” he said.
“My advice to the community is to ensure that they lock and secure their properties not only when they are away from the premises, including sheds and garages or other outbuildings.
“Make sure that all their windows are closed. This will help in preventing any would-be thief from gaining entry.
“Don’t leave gardening equipment outside or valuable items on display, also remove ladders from show or anything that someone may use to assist gaining access to premises.
“Also people need to double check that their vehicles are locked and secured when unattended. If they see anyone acting suspiciously in and around their own or neighbours property then report it to the police.”
West Yorkshire Police provide a free home security survey. To use this service, call 101 or check the force’s website at www.westyorkshire.police.uk