OFFICERS spoke to concerned residents after a spate of recent burglaries and incidents.

Burglaries were reported in Sunninghill Avenue, Applesham Avenue, and Hangleton Road in Hangleton last month.

In one incident, a woman knocked on the door of an elderly woman pretending to need help, only for an accomplice to then break in to the home in broad daylight to steal items inside.

It sparked fears that a burglary gang was operating in the area.

So community campaigners including David Drake and Councillor Dawn Barnett organised a meeting with the police for residents to talk about their concerns.

Police Sergeant Darren Egan, from the enforcement team, was joined by community support officers Richard Wright and Alex Funnell, who are on the beat in Hangleton and Knoll.

PCSO Wright said: “We are aware that there has been an increase in burglaries and we are under no illusions. We are targeting burglars and antisocial behaviour. There were nine burglaries last month, which is a lot in this area.

“We are tackling it, and have made a couple of arrests in connection with them.”

Cllr Barnett was concerned that elderly residents could be vulnerable to distraction burglars and cold callers.

She was also concerned that those seeking to report information by calling 101 can face a long delay in getting through to the police.

Other residents were concerned that burglars could still be at large, and wanted to know the best advice from the police.

Sgt Egan told those gathered that when crime is reported, it is fed into a computer system which analyses data, so that police patrols can be directed.

He said it is crucial that crime is reported, as it helps the police to build a picture of what is going on.

Meanwhile he said there are both plain clothes and uniformed officers who patrol communities.

In particular, Sgt Egan said mobile phone pictures of suspects, CCTV footage, and car registration plate details could make a huge difference in making sure criminals are caught.

Meanwhile PCSO Funnell said that those who are victims of burglary should try not to touch things inside, to allow forensics experts to have a good chance of getting fingerprints and DNA evidence.