Neighbourhood Watch man says ‘beef up’ your security

GARAGE owners need to keep their property more secure, a Neighbourhood Watch member is warning, following a spate of burglaries in Leamington and surrounding areas.

Thieves stole items including bicycles, mobile telephones and power tools from a number of garages and sheds in Warwick district during November and December. Although three men were arrested as a result, they were later released and police say the problem is ongoing.

John McSweeney is a member of the St Paul’s and Kennedy Square Neighbourhood Watch group who lives in Leicester Street. He said: “It is worrying that this is going on. People can of course speak to the police if they are worried about security, but they can do things to help themselves - they can beef up their security.

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“People should not rely on simple locks. I have had a garage broken into and it was because the lock which comes with a typical garage allows somebody to just smash it with a screwdriver and hammer.”

Mr McSweeney is advising garage owners to check, when buying a lock, that the bolt is sturdy so it is not possible for someone to saw through the hasp. He also says it is worth investing in an alarm which operates by a keypad and code system and is generally available for £5 online or around £15 from hardware shops.

But he warned: “Unless people near the garage react to these alarms, they are going to be no use to anybody.

“If people hear these things, they can phone the police. If I hear an alarm going off in my street, I go to have a look.

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“It does require a degree of good neighbourliness, but that’s exactly what Neighbourhood Watch is about.”

Anyone can join a Neighbourhood Watch group, which will hold regular meetings with residents, Safer Neighbourhood police officers, councillors and council officers.

Mr McSweeney said: “It just gives people the opportunity to speak to those who can act on fears or concerns and it makes people more aware of crime and how to prevent it.

“I would not suggest for one minute that anybody should tackle a criminal, but they can keep their eyes peeled and ears open. It’s not about spying, it’s about looking out for yourself and others.”

Anyone who would like to join their local Neighbourhood Watch group should contact their Safer Neighbourhoods team.

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