Asian families in Redbridge being ‘disproportionately’ targeted by burglars

Asian homes in Redbridge are being disproportionately targeted by burglars looking for gold, according to a police officer.

Det Insp Ian Bowles, who works in the burglary squad for Redbridge, said: “The price of gold is through the roof and it’s very easy to dispose of, it just needs to be melted down.”

He said spotting Asian households was relatively easy, and many were watched before the burglary actually takes place.

Mr Bowles said: “The vast majority of offences are conducted without any violence at all – often when the families are out.

“We have seen a small number of offences where the address is being watched and when the men leave and the women are at home, they are forced to hand over the jewellery.”

Often the items stolen in such robberies are worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Potential safeguards are to put valuables in safety deposit boxes or a safe which is secured to a wall or floor, Mr Bowles said.

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He added: “I would plead with communities to just store their gold somewhere safer than under the mattress.

“I know that probably won’t stop the offence as it’s a known fact that they do target Asian families, but it might just save your gold.”

At the end of last year Redbridge police launched Operation Castle, a pioneering project aiming to cut burglary in the borough.

Mr Bowles said: “It was seen as best practice because of the burglary problem in Redbridge.

“It’s now been accepted Met-wide and all the boroughs across north east London took it on.”

The 90 day operation saw officers visit known offenders and conduct high visibility patrols.

Mr Bowles added: “At this moment it would be wrong of me to say we are concentrating on one aspect. We are concentrating on all burglary – which includes Asian gold.”