Police are keen to reassure communities in Bedfordshire following a recent string of burglaries which are believed to be linked.
The force’s burglary investigators are launching a dedicated investigation into the series, which took place in the Luton and Linslade areas and is thought to involve the same group of white males.
Most of the victims were elderly, and several were in their homes at the time of the break-ins. In several of the offences, items including purses and jewellery were stolen.
Det Con Jason Wheeler, investigating, said: “These are utterly despicable crimes which will have been hugely damaging for the victims – made all the worse by the fact that it is so close to Christmas.
“At Bedfordshire Police vulnerable victims are a high priority for us and we have ensured each victim has been visited for their welfare and peace of mind.
“I would also like to reassure all residents, particularly the elderly, that we are committed to finding those responsible for these heartless crimes and are employing the joined-up skills of our new forcewide Operation Fidelity burglary team to help track them and bring them to justice.
“Our officers will be working throughout the Christmas period to help keep people safe and crack down on criminals.”
The offences being investigated are as follows:
Monday, December 21:
Cobden Street, Luton, between 4.30pm and 6pm; St Ethelbert Avenue, Luton, at around 5.45pm; Berry Leys, Luton, at 6.30pm; Capron Road, Luton, between 3pm and 8pm; Oakley Road, Luton, at 8.15pm; Stanton Road, Luton, at 8.45pm; Upper Coombe, Linslade, at 9.15pm; Mentmore Road, Linslade, at 9.40pm; Eaton Valley Road, Luton, between 12.30pm and 11.15pm.
Officers are currently linking a silver Ford Mondeo or estate-style vehicle, thought to be carrying false registration plates, to the crimes.
Anyone who has any information about a vehicle matching this description, or saw any unusual activity in the areas of any of the offences described, is asked to contact Det Con Wheeler on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Residents throughout Bedfordshire are reminded to remain vigilant to suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood and to report concerns to 101.
For further information on Operation Fidelity and burglary advice, visit http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/tackling_crime/burglary.aspx.