'It just breaks my heart' – Streak of thefts and burglaries shocks town
PUBLISHED: 14:14 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 04 February 2019
Framlingham residents have been left shaken after the town was hit by a spate of seven thefts and burglaries in 24 hours.
For cycle-lover James, who did not want to give his surname, his one-of-a-kind bike was his pride and joy – the perfect companion for a hobby that helped him clear his head and escape from everyday life.
So when it was stolen from his home in Saxtead Road, along with a rifle worth thousands of pounds, he was devastated.
“You think it is never going to happen to me,” he said.
“We have never been burgled before. It’s a pretty horrible thing.”
The items were taken from James’ locked garage overnight on January 27 into January 28, while his family were sleeping.
The father-of-four said the whole experience had been extremely unsettling and left his younger children feeling vulnerable.
“We leave the light on at night now,” he said. “I have had to change all the locks.
“That has completely messed with my head.”
The family have also installed CCTV, which they hope will deter burglars in future.
The bike and rifle together are worth roughly £4,000 – a sum that James said was very significant to his family.
Speaking about the sentimental value of the stolen items, he said: “I am resigned to the fact that I’ll never see them again.
“I have cycled for a lot of years. It was my little lease of life. It just breaks my heart.”
James said he could pick the bike out of any line up – it was so unique.
“It is one of a kind – it is the only bike on the planet with those markings,” he said.
“The police think it will be taken miles away or it will go abroad.”
While both he and his partner had been very shaken up by the incident, James said he mainly felt frustrated.
“It is the fact I can’t do anything about it,” he said.
He added that he wished to thank Suffolk police for being “incredibly helpful and supportive” in the wake of the burglary.
Alongside the police investigation, James is offering a £500 reward for any information leading to the bike’s safe return.
James’ family weren’t the only residents targeted that night – as police received reports of six other thefts and burglaries in the town within 24 hours.
The second incident was reported in New Street shortly before 8am on Monday, January 28.
At some point overnight, a suspect had forced entry into a shed by cutting the padlock off – stealing tools from inside.
Then at 9.35am, police received reports of a break in at Honeyz Dog Day Care Centre, in Peppers Wash.
Strangely, nothing appeared to be stolen from the premises.
Police were called again at 11.40am to reports of a theft from a vehicle in King’s Avenue.
An unknown suspect had tried to force the door of a Ford Transit, but nothing was stolen.
The fifth theft to be reported that day was at 3.15pm, when officers were made aware that a ring had been stolen from inside a car in King’s Avenue.
Then shortly after 9.30pm police received reports of another theft from a vehicle in Mount Pleasant.
At some point overnight, a suspect forced their way into a Ford Transit van and stole an HP laptop in a navy/black sleeve, an 8in tablet and keyboard, electric power cables, an Adidas rucksack, and other items.
Finally, in the seventh theft to be reported that day, officers were made aware that a number of power tools had been stolen from another Ford Fiesta van in New Street.
An eighth theft was reported the following day, on Tuesday, January 29, also in Saxtead Road.
It is believed the incident occurred at some point overnight, when a suspect entered the vehicle – a Ford Kuga – and stole medication.
Police have supplied crime references for all of the incidents and encouraged anybody with information to come forward.
Witnesses can call Suffolk police on 101 and quote one or more of the following reference numbers:
• Saxtead Road (James’ bike and rifle): 37/5497/19
• New Street (tools stolen from shed): 37/5480/19
• Honeyz Dog Day Care Centre, Peppers Wash (nothing stolen): 37/5459/19
• King’s Avenue (nothing stolen): 37/5528/19
• King’s Avenue (ring stolen): 37/5512/19
• Mount Pleasant (various items including HP laptop stolen): 37/5702/19
• New Street (power tools stolen from van): 37/5682/19
• Saxtead Road (medication stolen): 37/5939/19
Officers are currently keeping an open mind regarding whether these incidents are linked and enquiries are ongoing.