CRIMINALS are cashing in on this week’s heatwave - by looking for ‘easy pickings’ and breaking into homes where doors and windows have been left open.
South Yorkshire Police say there had been an ‘upsurge’ in break-ins over recent days - with burglars and thieves looking for easy targets.
Detective Inspector Chris Singleton, responsible for the police strategy for tackling burglary across the county, urged residents to make life harder for burglars.
He said: “Without a shadow of a doubt there has been an upsurge in burglaries and sneak-ins during this latest hot spell, as you get whenever you get an improvement in the weather and people start leaving doors and windows open and having barbecues in their back gardens with their front doors open.
“We don’t expect people to sit in their homes with their windows and doors closed, but to be security conscious and shut them when they leave a room because there are people prowling around looking for easy pickings - people are not even safe leaving their upstairs windows open because offenders are climbing onto bay windows and dustbins and using ladders to get inside.”
He said criminals were on the look-out for laptop computers, mobile phones, handbags, purses wallets and car keys. To deter criminals, officers in plain clothes are walking around the streets of Sheffield hoping to catch offenders in the act. They are also carrying out security checks and if they find an open door or window they will notify the homeowner.
DI Singleton said: “We even have plain-clothed officers who will enter houses that they find left open - to show homeowners just how easy it would have been for a burglar. If anything is going to shock you into stepping up your security it will be that.”
Officers are also looking for cars left open or with valuables on display and are writing to their owners.
“There are people taking advantage of this hot weather knowing people will not be as security conscious - my plea is to anyone who sees anyone or anything suspicious to get in touch so that we can investigate,” he said. “Every year over the summer months we see a steady increase in sneak-ins and burglaries.”
Between last Saturday and Monday, a property on Ecclesall Road was broken after a back door was left unlocked.
And a house on Plowright Mount, Gleadless Valley, was broken into overnight on Sunday into Monday this week when a door was left open for the family cat to get in and out. Last Wednesday, a burglar sneaked into a property on Meadow Terrace, Hunters Bar, through an insecure door.
n Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.