Councillor calls for more police patrols in Redbridge after spate of distraction burglaries

A councillor is calling for more police patrols on Redbridge streets after a spate of distraction burglaries involving fake gas men, drain workers and even police officers.

Labour group leader Cllr Jas Athwal said more officers on the street could discourage offenders and reassure residents.

There were 11 residential burglaries in his ward, Mayfield, in September alone.

Cllr Athwal said: “It’s reassurance that the public are really looking for.

“There needs to be more police on the beat to make people feel safe.

“The Safer Neighbourhood Teams do a fantastic job but because they are needed in other areas, sometimes residential areas aren’t a priority.”

A 78-year-old homeowner managed to fight off a burglar who tried to get into his house posing as a drain worker in Seven Kings on Thursday.

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The bogus “Drains-r-us” worker claimed to be fixing a blocked train before forcing his way into a home in Tavistock Gardens.

In what police describe as a “small altercation”, the man posing as the worker punched the pensioner in the face.

But the older resident sent him running with a kick and he escaped empty-handed towards Longbridge Road.

Other victims of con men and distraction burglars have not been so lucky.

Criminals have posed as charity collectors, water board workers, council officials and police officers to get into people’s homes and some have threatened or attacked residents.

Acting Det Insp Matt Day said officers are working on anti-burglary initiative Operation Castle and Safer Neighbourhood Teams are aware of the problem.

He added: “The 11 residential burglaries in Mayfield ward is a 22.6 per cent reduction on the same time last year. “And there were four robbery offences, which is a 23 per cent reduction on last year.

“Redbridge borough as a whole is currently the fifth best borough in the Metropolitan Police for reduction in residential burglary with a year-on-year reduction of 15.7 per cent.”