Harold Wood, South Hornchurch and Gooshays the worst for burglaries in Havering

Metropolitan and Essex Police gather as they are about to set off for the night on Operation Gambler

Metropolitan and Essex Police gather as they are about to set off for the night on Operation Gambler - a cross border police action targeting burglars and dangerous drivers. Picture: Matt Clemenson - Credit: Matt Clemenson

Havering counted 2,606 burglaries in the past year, according to Metropolitan Police figures.

The worse spots in the borough were Harold Wood, South Hornchurch and Gooshays with 189, 188 and 185 respectively.

Hacton, Cranham and Elm Park counted the fewest with 73, 80 and 86.

At the beginning of lockdown at the end of March, burglaries decreased dramatically. April 2019 saw 139, whereas April 2020 saw just 59 - no more than nine in any ward, for the first time.

Since then, they have been creeping up slowly with 77 in June and 87 in July across the borough.

Det Supt Paul Trevers explained the dramatic decrease was due to people remaining at home due to the coronavirus pandemic,

“With the government guidelines being lifted slowly we are seeing the trend rise to the level it was before the outbreak.

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“We have foreseen this and placed a couple of initiatives in place to try and mitigate the increase.”

One such initiative is Operation Gambler, an ongoing operation which focuses on tackling cross border burglaries between the Met and Essex police.

The figures for Harold Wood, for example, show a higher amount of burglaries compared to other wards in Havering.

This is thought to be because Harold Wood is on the borough’s border with Essex, with key roads linking them together and other fast roads (A12, A127, M25, A13) close by providing a quick getaway. Police say the operation has seen more than 40 arrests and this activity will continue.

Det Supt Trevers added: “One excellent investigation from the operation led to the arrest of a male who has been charged with five burglary offences and two fraud offences.

“Three of the burglary offences were in Hornchurch and one in Harold Wood.

“This male is currently on remand in prison awaiting court proceedings, however he has indicated he wishes to admit further offences primarily in the Havering area.”

In terms of prevention, the Burglary and Robbery team say they are putting together crime prevention advice in partnership with Havering Council as we now see the lifting of government guidelines and see the public returning to work.

Mr Trevers said: “This key communication will remind our community to keep doors and window locked, to install private alarm/CCTV system and give advice on target hardening.”

As we move closer to autumn and the nights begin to draw in, he added that the longer nights will mean an increase in visible patrols prioritising burglary prevention across Havering, supported by a more covert approach, as part of the Autumn Nights operation.