Burglars pounce on new-build homes in Leeds

A rise in burglaries in North Yorkshire is being blamed on cross-border criminals

A rise in burglaries in North Yorkshire is being blamed on cross-border criminals

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A dramatic rise in Leeds’s burglary rate in the last year is being linked by police to its growing number of building sites as levels of house-building increase in the city.

There were 5,227 domestic burglaries in the region’s largest city in the year to September, a 30 per cent rise from the previous year and the biggest increase across West Yorkshire.

And a report into the county’s crime figures suggests one of the contributing factors in the rise is an increase in the number of residential building sites.

Neighbourhood police officers in Leeds say criminals have been targeting unoccupied newly-built homes to steal new boilers and other equipment they can sell on for profit.

The city’s high burglary rate, which fell in the 12 months to September 2014, is believed to be largely down to crime taking place in areas with large student populations.

Better recording methods mean a burglary at a multi-occupancy house with six rooms would now be classed as six burglaries, rather than just one, a trend said to be having a particular impact in Leeds.

Detective Inspector Dave McDougal, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Crime Team, said: “We have seen a number of incidents where criminals have targeted unoccupied newly-built homes to steal new boilers and other equipment that can be sold on.

“We have made arrests in relation to some of these incidents and will continue to do all we can to identify those responsible for any further offences.

“We are working closely with building firms to make sure they have suitable security and crime prevention measures in place and we are conducting detailed research of the stolen goods market to identify where these items are going.”

The rise was revealed in a report by West Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

He said: “[Police] informed me that the increase in residential building sites and subsequent thefts, combined with increased scrutiny and rigour around crime recording compliance, will have both contributed to the greater increase in Leeds.”