London

London burglary gang hunted after break-ins

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Media captionGang hunted after family held hostage

A gang of burglars who smashing their way into houses in a London suburb and threatened a family is being hunted by police.

Four men, wielding crowbars and hammers, forced their way into a property in Cookham Dene Close, Chislehurst, at around 18:00 GMT on 5 March, CCTV shows.

Separate footage of a gang stealing a safe in Keston on Wednesday was also released by police.

The Met are appealing for witnesses.

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Media captionFour men, wielding crowbars and hammers, forced their way into a property in Cookham Dene Close

The suspects, described as white, of stocky build and speaking with Irish accents, threatened an elderly man and children with violence while demanding money and jewellery, police said.

One of the men grabbed an 11-year-old boy from the lounge and dragged him through the hallway to where the rest of the family were sitting.

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Image caption The intruders, said to be in their mid-20s, were wearing matching Converse All Star-style trainers, baseball caps and puffer jackets

One victim managed to call a family member, who alerted police, prompting the raiders to stuff jewellery into a teenage girl's school bag and escape in a silver Mercedes.

The intruders, said to be in their mid-20s and wearing matching Converse All Star-style trainers, baseball caps and puffer jackets, are thought to be behind a number of burglaries in the south-east London area.

Footage shows how the thieves dragged a safe, filled with watches and jewellery, through a property in Forest Ridge, before loading it into a car boot.

Det Con Ben Briselden, said: "This was a terrifying burglary where a family were at home enjoying their evening and were threatened, and attacked, by four men who then stole their most valued possessions, which were of great sentimental value."