Northampton Asian community starts gold theft patrols

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Media captionOut on patrol after jewellery thefts in the St James, Dallington and Spencer areas of Northampton

Members of Northampton's Asian community have started patrolling the streets of the town after a spate of gold thefts from their homes.

Burglars have struck in the St James, Dallington and Spencer areas, stealing jewellery.

Northamptonshire Police said patrols could be dangerous and could compromise investigations.

But community leaders said more needed to be done to help the community.

Labour councillor Mohammed Azizur Rahman, of Castle ward, said his home was burgled earlier this year and 400g of gold taken.

He said: "People hold this gold from generation to generation. My wife lost her jewellery given by her father. She used to feel comfortable when she touched that gold.

'Women scared'

"My wife cries every day for the memories gone, which cannot be replaced. People are living in fear."

Gold is culturally popular among the Asian community. It is valuable to thieves because it is often up to 22 carats.

Image caption The number of jewellery thefts in Northamptonshire has increased since the value of gold went up

Azizul Khan, from the St James area, said the community set up the neighbourhood patrol after a family had their house burgled while the owner was outside taking care of his disabled daughter.

"Many of the women and children in the community feel scared to go out even during the day because they are not sure what would happen to their homes," he said.

"We are not a vigilante group but we will be out on the streets until they are safe."

The neighbourhood patrols started last week after a meeting between the community and the police, attended by about 100 people.

So far about 40 to 50 people have been taking turns patrolling the streets.

Northamptonshire Police said patrols carried a risk of harm and investigative leads could be compromised. The force said people should contact police instead.

PC Nick Stevens said: "We've put a lot more uniformed officers on the streets to reassure the residents and also deter the criminals."

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