Christmas is often known as a time of giving and sharing – but for some unscrupulous criminals, it’s simply a season to thieve, pillage and plunder. Longer nights make for extended hours of darkness (an excellent cover for opportunistic thieves) while colder temperatures result in fewer pairs of eyes out on the streets, meaning there is less of a deterrent for housebreakers.
With Christmas now less than a week away, nightmare scenarios have already befallen households and businesses across the UK. This selection of stories is testament to the importance of properly securing your property so that the same doesn’t happen to you.
Daylight robbery in Slough
Single mother of three Helen Bunker saw her family’s Christmas go up in smoke after audacious burglars broke into her house in the middle of the day – while she was still in the property. Ms Bunker had dropped her teenage son off at school, before nursing a headache in bed with a short nap.
Upon awakening, however, Ms Bunker discovered that all of the presents for her three children had been pilfered, amounting to more than £500 worth of goods. Among other gifts, the thieves made off with a Burberry handbag, PS4 games and Star Wars merchandise.
“When you’ve had a really bad time you just don’t believe it. You just don’t believe people will do this kind of thing,” explained Ms Bunker, who has been off work for the previous six months with depression. “Christmas is ruined.” In a bid to salvage the holiday, a close family friend has set up a fundraiser page to try and recoup the value of the presents stolen.
Meanwhile, a spate of burglaries over in Staffordshire has caused police to issue a general warning to the public to make sure they have safeguarded their homes in the run-up to the big day.
“Please be on your guard at this time and make sure your properties are as secure as possible at all times,” said a statement from the local force. “Any suspicious activity should be reported to Staffordshire Police on 101.”
The warning came after three separate households were robbed over the weekend. Christmas presents were taken from at least one of the addresses, while jewellery, handbags, cash and electrical items were also stolen. The police enquiry is ongoing.
Christmas tree pilferers caught on CCTV
Down on the south coast, a pair of bandits made off with the Christmas tree from an exterior display outside a garden centre in Plymouth. CCTV footage clearly shows two individuals unbolting the tree from its metal base and carting it off in their getaway vehicle.
“We put it out with all of the lights to give a bit of enjoyment to our customers and help add a bit of Christmas atmosphere to the place – at night especially it looked really amazing,” explained Gavin Pughe, manager of the stricken store.
“We got loads of good feedback from customers and people just driving by at night as you could see it from the road, now there’s just nothing there and no lights. It’s really sad. We really aren’t worried about the value of it, it is simply that we put that tree out for everyone to enjoy – to do something like this is awful, hardly in the Christmas spirit.”
The CCTV images have been circulated on social media and the police are continuing to follow up leads, though there has been no news on the missing tree as yet.
Don’t get Scrooged!
As the three stories above show, the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge might be fictional constructs but their real-life counterparts do exist – and they don’t care whose Christmas they ruin.
Make sure it is isn’t yours by installing adequate security around your property. At Blackburn Alarms, we have a whole host of intruder alerts, CCTV cameras and access control systems to increase safety and give you peace of mind. To find out more about how we can help secure your home or workplace, get in touch with us today.