A CITY councillor who was burgled while she made dinner in her kitchen is urging residents to make sure their doors are locked – even when they are at home.
Councillor for Portobello and Craigmillar Maureen Child had property burgled from under her nose after leaving a front door unlocked.
Her experience has been shared by a number of residents – with around 10 break-ins in the Portobello and Joppa areas flagged up to her over the last fortnight.
In some cases, the thieves “slipped in” through unlocked doors or open windows while the residents were at home and oblivious to anyone sneaking into the property.
Cllr Child has now issued a call for residents to take precautions – or risk becoming a victim like herself.
“People need to realise this could be an issue and should guard against it,” she said.
“It’s very distressing for people who have lost heirlooms and money. An elderly couple in Portobello had £200 in cash taken from a drawer while they were in the house.”
She had her laptop and digital camera stolen from her home after leaving her front door unlocked one day in September.
“I had got back from work and gone into the kitchen at the back of the house to make a meal,” she said.
“Somebody had come in and gone upstairs, nicked the laptop from the study and come back down again and took some things from a drawer in the hall.
“I felt really stupid – how could I not have heard anything? It wasn’t a nice thought knowing that somebody was in the house. What if I had come out and seen somebody on the stairs? It would have been a bit scary.”
Cllr Child noticed her laptop was missing that night but it was not until the following day that she discovered the camera was missing.
She said: “Nobody had borrowed my laptop and I hadn’t left it anywhere – we were trying to piece together what on earth was going on. It wasn’t until the next morning when my husband started to find other things missing that we realised there had been a theft.
“It took ages to work out how it could’ve happened.”
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed there had been a cluster of recent thefts. A spokesman said there will be focused patrolling in the area, including joint patrolling with the council, both on foot and on pedal cycle.
The spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of break-ins to properties in the local area that have happened recently. Information and advice on home security is available through the crime prevention section of the Lothian and Borders Police website.”
Meanwhile, two individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with a number of break-ins in the area.
THEFTS ARE ‘CAREFULLY EXECUTED’
Jewellery and electrical items have been stolen from homes in West Lothian following a spate of break-ins.
Six separate housebreakings have been reported in Livingston over the last week.
The incidents happened in Clement Rise, Millfield, Raeburn Rigg, Easter Bankton, Sycamore Glade and Beechwood Park.
Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for information.
Constable Chris Kay said: “These housebreakings are somewhat unusual in that they have been planned and carefully executed. At the moment we are treating these incidents as linked, however we are keeping an open mind in terms of our inquiries.
“We would encourage homeowners to do all they can to deter thieves by making sure they lock up properly, hide valuables, install security lights and restrict access to gardens. It’s also worth leaving lights or radios switched on, or even using timer switches if possible.”