An ex-bobbie has issued a security warning to his neighbours after catching on film a prowler trying to get into cars.
These clear images of the early hours intruder were captured on Mark Sweet’s CCTV camera, newly-installed after local concerns were raised about folk having items stolen from their vehicles.
The 59-year-old, who these days works as a handyman, said the pictures were a wake-up call to fellow Swinley residents and urged anyone recognising the would-be thief to tell the police.
Mark, who lives on Swinley Road, said: “I became aware from a local Facebook group that lots of people had been reporting incidents of cars being interfered with and, if they’d been left unlocked, items being stolen and their interiors searched and stuff strewn around.
“There hadn’t been any forced entry so these were opportunist crimes.
“As a result and, like a lot of people, I had CCTV installed. At first it was programmed to run only whenever someone came onto my property. This then caught this guy on film walking onto my front garden at 1.30am last Saturday.
“After that I re-set the camera to film continuously and, sure enough, there he was again, this time at 2.28am on Wednesday. He comes down the road, you see him try next door’s vehicle on the street, then their car on the driveway; then he comes onto my drive and tries my Mercedes van before trying the doors of my other neighbour’s cars on the road before disappearing.
“Luckily all the vehicles were secured so he didn’t get anything, but this is a wake-up call to everyone round here.
“His appearance is quite distinctive: male white, in his early 20s, 5ft 10ins to 6ft tall, wearing trainers, black jogging pants, a three-quarter hooded waterproof jacket with light grey sleeves and shoulders and dark grey panels back and front, and a black beanie hat.
“I have reported this to the Neighbourhood Policing Team but their dwindling numbers leave me with little expectation of any action because it is low level crime and they have to prioritise resources.
“That is why it is so important that residents take responsibility for vehicle security to prevent thefts in the first place. Make sure your vehicles are always locked and don’t leave valuables on show.”
Mark, who served 30 years with Lancashire Constabulary, said anyone recognising the intruder should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. He also recommended that CCTV be installed if it wasn’t already.