Police will keep a watchful eye over homes while owners are on holiday during Ilford trial scheme

A new police scheme aiming to stop burglars capitalising on the summer holidays and hitting homes while owners are away is being trialled in Ilford.

Pioneered by Valentines ward Sgt Andy Hobson, the “holiday watch” will allow residents in the area to tell police when they go on holiday.

Sgt Hobson outlined the plan to Redbridge Council’s area seven committee on Tuesday at Aldborough E-ACT Free School, in Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings.

He said: “We want to stop home owners becoming victims of crime.

“They can let us know when they will be away so we can monitor the house to see if anything changes.”

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Officers will also give people in the scheme advice on how to avoid “signposting” their absence to criminals.

The trial will run for three months and could be considered for introduction in other areas if successful.

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Sgt Hobson said: “If it has a dramatic effect on crime reduction it could be rolled out across Redbridge.”

Cllr Shoaib Patel, the cabinet member for environment, transportation and crime, welcomed the plans but said the benefits would have to be “proved” to senior leadership for “holiday watch” to spread across the borough.

Safer Neighbourhood Teams are also working to remove adverts for prostitution around Cranbrook Road.

Police are removing cards and leaflets from lampposts, notice boards and public places in the hope that criminals will stop replacing them.

Motor vehicle crime is also a priority for police in the area, who have been stopping cars to check for uninsured vehicles and other offences.

Officers have been visiting Ilford schools to talk about crime prevention and reporting.

Sgt Hobson said: “We are getting children to take the message home to see if it has more of an impact on the parents.”

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