AN ESTATE has been raided by burglars who targeted seven homes in just 10 days - the highest number ever seen by the police inspector in charge of the district.
Cash, mobile phones and laptops worth thousands of pounds were stolen from houses on the Scotch estate in Hemsworth.
But Insp Geoff Carter, head of the South East neighbourhood police team (NPT) said all of them could have been prevented.
In every incident the burglars gained entry to the houses through an open window.
Insp Carter said: “It is a terrifying and awful experience for people when they know they have been burgled, and sometimes, they have been in the house at the same time which is makes it more of an ordeal.”
He warned people to keep all downstairs windows and doors locked at all times even if people were in the house.
He also advised people to have safety latched fitted to their windows as an extra precaution.
Insp Carter said: “This is the most burglaries I have seen in such a short space of time and with the help and knowledge of residents, it can be stopped.”
He said it was opportunist thieves who saw open windows as an easy target.
No-one has yet been arrested for the crimes.
The NPT has now stepped up patrols of the area in a bid to stop more families from suffering the misery of being burgled.
Inspector Carter said the raised awareness had helped as there had been a reduction in those types of crime in the past five days.
He said: “There have been no burglaries for the last five days and I would like to thank the local community for listening to our crime prevention advice.
“I also want to thank my own staff and the division’s CID officers for their hard work. They conducted increased patrols in the area and offered local reassurance and advice and it paid off.
“But we still heavily rely on information from residents so we urge people to come forward.”
Anyone with information should contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
For information about crime prevention call 101 or visit http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/