Police urge communities to stand up to burglars targeting Sheffield

DCI Anna Sedgwick
DCI Anna Sedgwick

Detectives tracking down burglars raiding homes across Sheffield are urging communities to play their part and name offenders.

A dedicated police team set up in Sheffield to target burglars over the last few months is yielding positive results - with 69 arrests made over a 10 week period, according to the latest figures available from South Yorkshire Police.

Burglar Adam Rotherford

Burglar Adam Rotherford

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Between November 20, 2017 and January 21, 2018 there was a 71 per cent reduction in burglaries recorded - down from 140 in the first week to 40 in the tenth.

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Police chiefs are confident that the number of arrests would increase if more members of the public passed on information about those breaking into homes across the city.

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There were 6,173 reported burglaries in Sheffield last year - the equivalent of about 17 a day.

Burglar Ryan Kirby

Burglar Ryan Kirby

Temporary Detective Inspector Anna Sedgwick, who oversees the Sheffield Performance Crime Teams responsible for tracking down burglars in Sheffield, said information from communities is vital.

She said the city's burglary rate will 'understandably cause concern' but pointed out that the offences include raids of business premises as well as homes.

"It’s important to highlight that the data is a combination of both commercial and domestic burglaries, but this also highlights just how important it is that we work together to tackle this issue to drive this figure down," she said.

"It isn’t just homeowners that can be affected by this crime - it can affect local businesses, tenants, entire neighbourhoods.

"This team is absolutely committed to identifying burglars and putting them before court and we are achieving some positive results."

She added: "My officers are working around the clock, going above and beyond to find those committing burglaries, to arrest suspects and bring them before the courts.

"Arrests are made on a daily basis but we know that we would get even more of these offenders off our streets if communities told us everything they know.

"We believe local people at least have an idea of who in their communities is committing crime, and I would urge the public to pass on that information to help us detect even more cases which will ultimately improve the areas where they live. If we work together we will achieve more.

"I’d urge everyone living in Sheffield to think about the impact that burglary has on its victims, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. Anyone could be a victim of burglary, at any time, and we want to prevent the next victim being someone you know. To stop one of your family members or friends becoming the next victim, please tell us what you know. That information could be vital in helping us identify offenders."

She said opportunistic thieves are active in all major cities.

"Cities and high population density areas will always attract opportunistic criminals and Sheffield is no exception to this," TDI Sedgwick said.

"We also have a high student population living in multi-occupancy properties and apartment blocks, where multiple burglaries can be committed by one person in one sweep if properties are left insecure.

"I want to reassure the public of Sheffield that we are working incredibly hard to tackle this issue and appreciate how this crime affects our city.

"Policing is only one part of the solution, however, and we continue to ask for the public's help in preventing burglaries by ensuring that their home security is appropriate and that burglars aren't given easy opportunities. Many of our crimes still involve entry via unlocked or insecure doors and windows."

One burglar behind bars after an investigation by the team is Adam Rotherforth, who was recently jailed for six years eight months.

The 28-year-old, of Lupton Road, Lowedges, tricked an elderly woman into allowing him into her home in December 2016 and stole her purse.
The following month he used broke into the house of a man with autism and threatened him with a bottle before stealing electrical items and alcohol.
PC Paul Jenkinson said: "In the first instance, Rotherforth tricked an elderly lady into letting him into her Batemoor home.
"While inside, he stole her purse that contained £200 in cash.
"In the second incident, Rotherforth targeted a vulnerable adult who suffers from autism. He visited the victim's Lowedges home in the early hours of the morning to ask him to withdraw money from an ATM.
"When he was denied access, he smashed a window to climb in and threatened the victim with a bottle before making off with alcohol and electrical items.

"Rotherforth knew his victims were vulnerable and used this for his own gain.
"His behaviour was threatening and abusive and he thoroughly deserves to spend time behind bars.
"No-one should feel unsafe in their own home and we will continue to ensure that anyone who thinks they are above the law gets the punishment they deserve."

Ryan Harry Kirby, 33, of Madehurst Gardens, Heeley, was jailed for 28 months last month after pleading guilty to one count of burglary, fraud and handling stolen goods.
He broke into a house in Cemetery Avenue, Sharrow, overnight on February 18.

The victim discovered the burglary after their bank called about an issue with his bank card and he found that his wallet and a number of electrical items had been taken.

Hallam University students Oliver Rodgers, 23, praised South Yorkshire Police for reunited him with a memory stick containing all his university work, which Kirby stole after breaking into a house off Ecclesall Road.

Oliver, who is in his final year of a sport and exercise science degree, was visiting a friend when Kirby sneaked into the house and stole his laptop, memory stick, coat, wallet and house keys.

He said: "Within the space of 10 minutes he crept into the house and grabbed what he could from the living room, including the memory stick which contained all my university work. Had I not got that back it would have added another year onto my studies because of everything I would have had to repeat.

"The police were confident that they would find the man responsible and it is reassuring they they were true to their word and he is now off the streets unable to target anyone else.

"The girls whose house was broken into were quite traumatised and it does leave you with a feeling that you have to be on your guard but knowing these people are getting convicted is reassuring."

Anyone with information on burglars active in Sheffield should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

For crime prevention advice call 101 and ask for Dene Tinker.