Baby threatened in one of 'spate' of attacks by UK jewel thieves

Ruthless burglars in the UK smashed their way into a family's home then threatened to hurt a newborn baby in a bid to uncover cash and valuables.

Police revealed the tactic was employed by just one of several unconnected groups of thieves who have stolen tens of thousands of pounds in jewellery in recent weeks.

During the same raid in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, on November 8, knives were held to the throats of women in the home, although no one was seriously injured.

In another incident in the Small Heath area of the city, a gang armed with screwdrivers stole a male victim's jewellery and sprayed his hands with cleaning fluid.

West Midlands Police has set up a dedicated task force in a bid to trace individuals behind 28 separate offences in recent weeks.

Groups of thieves have been targeting people in their own homes, punching some victims and in one case hitting another with a metal bar.

The spate of thefts is causing detectives "real concern", with one arrest to date.

Warning householders to be on their guard, Detective Inspector Dave Keen said: "The spate we have seen recently is a real concern for me and we are doing everything we can to identify the criminals responsible.

"We've got a dedicated taskforce which is which is working on this literally 24 hours a day."

He added: "It's also very important that residents do as much as possible to protect their property.

"Asian traditions have always placed a strong emphasis on jewellery it plays an important role in many religious festivals as well as significant family occasions, with many items handed down through generations.

"These are not just highly valuable possessions; they are also of great sentimental worth and are a huge loss to their owners if such jewellery is taken.

"We're issuing a warning to people owning valuable gold jewellery and urging them to take simple steps to protect it.

"We believe these criminals scope areas for homes that could be potential targets, I ask people to be aware of individuals or vehicles in their area acting suspiciously.

"If you are in any doubt, call police."



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