Neighbourhood is in fear over burglary spell

Residents are feeling terrified in their own homes after a spate of break-ins and burglaries.
Residents are feeling terrified in their own homes after a spate of break-ins and burglaries.
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PEOPLE say they are living in fear after a wave of burglaries in their neighbourhoods.

Twenty seven homes were broken in to in Cleckheaton in October, according to police records.

And people living in the area say more houses have been targeted during the past few months, leaving residents in a state of panic.

David Hammond, 44, said the home he shares with his wife Siobhan and six-year-old son Cormac on Hawthorn Lane was burgled in August.

He said: “It made me feel very vulnerable. I am not the smallest of guys but it really did make me feel vulnerable in my own house. It filled me with dread. We have changed all the locks but things like this put you on edge.

“My wife is struggling with sleeping and we are getting up with every noise, knock or bang.

“A lot of people on this estate are feeling the same. The whole community is on edge.”

One man, who did not want to be named, said he had suffered with panic attacks since an attempted break in at his home on Laithe Hall Avenue last month.

He said: “It is just horrendous up here at the moment, really bad. There’s lots of properties being done.

“Everybody on the estates is petrified. It’s like who’s going to be next?”

Neighbour Simon Balaam said his house on Laithe Hall Avenue was also subject to an attempted burglary last week.

He said: “It was really nerve wracking. I thought someone had already got in.

“There seems to be a lot of similar incidents going on.

“And we have now got a whole neighbourhood of people who are frightened to death.”

Police said they had launched an operation to target suspected offenders.

Officers from the Batley and Spent NPT said they were paying night-time visits to known burglary offenders in nearby areas.

Police said they had also carried out operations on roads in Batley and Spen to clamp down on vehicle crime and try to trace outstanding offenders. Two wanted men were detected and arrested.

Inspector Mohammed Rauf said: “We are aware of residents’ concerns about burglary in parts of the Cleckheaton area and have been taking steps to deter offenders with disruption visits and night time operations in the areas we think suspects are travelling in from.

“We have recorded 27 dwelling burglary offences for October in the whole of Cleckheaton compared to 20 for the same period last year, so while there hasn’t been a large spike, there has been an increase.

“Aside from targeting offenders, officers are also attending neighbourhood watch meetings to provide crime prevention advice and help with reassurance.”

“We would ask residents to remain vigilant during these darker nights, to keep an eye on neighbours’ properties if they are away, and to report any suspicious behaviour.

“There are also simple steps that everyone can take to put off burglars such as making sure doors and windows are locked and expensive items are out of sight.”

Information on how to protect homes can be found at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/burglary