A 14-YEAR-OLD boy has been charged in connection with an on-going investigation into an unprecedented number of house burglaries in Exeter.
Police have asked the public to be their "eyes and ears" in the community as in the last two months there has been an average of one house burglary every day in the St Thomas and Cowick area of the city.
All incidents have taken place overnight – many while residents have been sleeping upstairs – and officers say whoever is responsible has targeted homes with poor security.
And detectives confirmed that a 14-year-old from Exeter was arrested and charged on Monday for two dwelling burglaries and for a minor drugs offence. He appeared at Exeter Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he was released on bail.
Enquires into all the burglaries are continuing and police have issued an appeal for anyone with information on the incidents or might know what has happened to any of the stolen items to come forward.
There have been recorded offences in Duckworth Road, Isleworth Road, Buddle Lane, Western Road, Bowhay Lane and Powderham Road among others.
Investigating officer DC Matt Burnell, of Exeter CID, said: "This has gone on since the end of July and is different to any other part of the city. It is on a scale that I cannot remember happening before.
"It could be related to the time of year as entry has been secured through open windows and doors.
"We are extremely concerned about it. The loss of property and sentimental items such as jewellery is always a concern. We want people to feel safe in their own home. The impact these incidents have on people has been huge. On several occasions they have been woken up and it is a horrible invasion on their property.
"We would like to appeal for the community to help us. Someone out there knows what is going on. They might know where the property might be going and that may be something we can work with.
"I would just urge the public to remain vigilant and call us with anything suspicious they might see. We need them to be our eyes and ear out there in the community."
Among the items that have been taken are jewellery, handbags, laptops and wallets.
PCSO for St Thomas Will Malcolm said: "All the crimes are within less than a square mile. It is certainly the biggest issue we have got in the area at the moment. It appears they are opportunists who are targeting open doors and windows. I would like to offer crime prevention advice and urge people to lock windows and doors."
Call police with information on 101.