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Police swoop on house in Stansted Road, Bishop's Stortford after man arrives home and disturbs burglars

Police swooped on a house in Bishop's Stortford when one of the occupants arrived home and reportedly disturbed burglars who had ransacked the place.

Items including iPads, watches, an iPhone and a designer handbag were stolen in the break-in at a property on the corner of Stansted Road and Cannons Mill Lane on Tuesday (January 14) between 4.15pm and 5.10pm.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said that the thieves broke in by smashing a pane of glass in a back door and unlocking it using a key which had been left in the lock. The victim got home to find an "untidy search" of the house had been made.

Passers-by saw four police vehicles and seven or eight officers at the scene.

The police spokeswoman said: "It is believed the victim may have disturbed the offenders as he heard a noise in the kitchen when he arrived home. Officers were dispatched to the scene immediately to try to locate them."

She added that enquiries were continuing.

It was the second such break-in in the area in six days after a couple's home in Millcroft, a cul de sac off Cannons Mill Lane, was targeted for the fourth time by burglars who smashed their way in and took items including jewellery, cash, a laptop and a spare car key.

It happened on Wednesday January 8, between 9.15am and 8.45pm, while the occupants were out all day.

The victims' daughter said on Facebook: "My parents... have walked in tonight to find patio doors smashed and bedrooms completely ransacked." The intruders left muddy footprints.

The police spokeswoman said: "There doesn’t appear to be a spike in crime for that area. The levels are within the range we typically see for Bishop’s Stortford at this time of year, although Stortford is currently showing as having a lower number of offences compared to last year.

"We regularly review crime figures and trends, and will adapt our patrol plans, both overt and covert, accordingly."

In some of the offences, thieves have specifically targeted homes to steal valuable vehicles after getting hold of the keys.

The spokeswoman warned: "Alongside our traditional advice, we would urge people to store high-value vehicles in secure garages wherever possible, keep vehicle keys well hidden and in a ‘Faraday bag’ [a signal-blocking pouch] to prevent keyless theft."

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