Published: 00:01, 01 August 2017
Gangs caught rifling through people’s bins in Sturry have sparked fears of identity fraud.
The bin raiders have been seen carrying bags and rummaging through rubbish in the village, and have even being linked to the theft of a teddy from a grave at the local cemetery.
Reports have already been made of suspicious behaviour in Mill Road, Homewood Road, Sleigh Road and Delaware Road, but the parish council believes it may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Sarah Weston, of Mill Road, confronted two men going through her paper recycling bin.
“They were obviously looking for letters with bank details or anything to do with personal identity,” she said.
“It was pretty scary, to be honest, as I didn’t really know what to do or how to approach it as you know how it is nowadays.
“I wasn’t sure if they were carrying weapons and my children were also home with me.
“I went to the front door as I was angered with their behaviour and I told them to go away.
“The fact that I opened the door scared them anyway.”
"It's been going on for a couple of weeks but there are probably cases when it hasn't been reported so police don't know it's happening" - Julie Cronin
Sturry Parish Council clerk Julie Cronin says police found one group going through a skip and another was stopped at the top of the estate.
“A group also went into the cemetery on Cedar Road,” she said.
“Police had a look through their bags but didn’t find anything at that time.
“They were told if they are caught on people’s property they will be arrested.”
Mrs Cronin says residents should be aware of the issue and urges people to report it to police if they see the gangs in operation.
“It’s been going on for a couple of weeks but there are probably cases when it hasn’t been reported so police don’t know it’s happening, which means they won’t send officers to the area,” she said.
Others living in Sturry say they have seen the groups in Deansway Avenue and River View and police confirmed a further report was made about Homewood Road, Sleigh Road and Delaware Road on Friday, July 21.
Police spokesman Natalie Hardy says officers were called on Sunday, July 16, after the theft of a soft toy from a gravestone at the cemetery.
“Officers were also made aware of a group of people in the area looking through residents’ bins and allegedly taking items from them,” she said.
“They spoke to two men who were not linked to any offences and no arrests were made.
“Local patrols are aware and are monitoring the surrounding area.”
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