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Family whose house was burgled issue home-safety warning

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HOMEOWNERS are being warned not to make it easy for ‘opportunist thieves’ to target their properties, as a mother has told how her family’s dream holiday was almost ruined by a burglar who stole thousands of pounds of savings.

Cleveland, Abbie (14), Bradley (12) and Vicky Moon

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Craig Jackson has moved to reassure Islanders that, comparatively, Jersey remains safe, but he stressed burglaries do happen.

So far this year, 77 reported breaking and entering or illegal entry cases have been recorded by the force – about three a week.

Many relate to bicycles being stolen out of gardens, and there are few cases where offenders have broken into properties while homeowners were in.

‘These crimes do happen in Jersey but Islanders can safeguard against them,’ said Acting Det Chief Insp Jackson. ‘We don’t have evidence of an organised crime group operating in this area – offenders tend to be opportunist thieves who see something, or people who are drug addicts or alcoholics and they are stealing to feed an addiction.’

The force’s warning has been sounded as a mother has told of her family’s ‘heartbreak’ after a thief invaded their home and stole more than £2,000 – money saved for over a year for a holiday to celebrate her daughter beating cancer.

The thief, once a close friend of the family, made off with £2,100 that had been kept in a container in the living room of their St Clement home. Jose Manuel Mendonca De Sousa (40) was spared jail and instead ordered to carry out 240 hours’ community service. De Sousa had claimed that he needed the money to support his terminally-ill ex-wife and two children.

Now, mother-of-two Vicky Moon said had it not been for her mother stepping in with some cash their dream family holiday to celebrate five years since her daughter Abbie (14) overcame a long battle with leukaemia would have been ruined.

‘It just makes you feel so violated. I have still not got over it. My son, who is 12, is now so eager to make sure everything is locked and that there is no windows open when we leave the house,’ she said.

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‘It makes it even worse that we knew him. He knew what we were saving the money for. Even when we knew it was him we said if he paid us back we wouldn’t take it further but he just denied it.’

The family have received £1,600 in compensation.

And Mrs Moon has now warned other homeowners to be vigilant about open windows and unlocked doors ‘even in Jersey’.

‘People think it’s safe but these things happen,’ she said.

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Of the 77 offences recorded this year, two offenders have been charged and one ordered to appear at a parish hall inquiry. There are a further 20 cases that are awaiting classification on the police database.

In almost half of cases this year no suspect was identified by the police and in a further seven cases either there was insufficient evidence to proceed or the victim did not want to press charges.

Acting DCI Jackson stressed in cases where a suspect had not been identified it would remain open. He added that many burglary cases in Jersey related to bikes being stolen from gardens. Bike theft has been a well publicised issue in the Island. Last year 132 bikes were reported stolen.

In 2018, there were 162 recorded burglary offences. In 27 of those cases a suspect was charged and in three others someone was referred to a parish hall inquiry. In 2017 the figure for recorded crimes was 137, in 25 of those cases a suspect was charged.

For advice on how to protect homes from burglars, visit jersey.police.uk/be-safe and click on the link for ‘homes and belongings’ and then ‘home security’.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
author

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