COUNCILLORS have warned residents against forming a vigilante group after an estate was struck by a spate of car break-ins.

Police have said they have received reports of nine incidents of cars being broken into across Warndon Villages overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday (March 13-14).

Taking to Warndon Villages Community Group on Facebook, one resident said the thefts spread from near Worcestershire Royal Hospital to St Nicholas Church.

He said the thieves were seemingly undeterred by residents’ CCTV and security lights and argued the spate “demonstrates there is no police patrols covering this part of Worcester”.

He added: “This area with its upmarket properties and high value cars and high Council tax needs something better from its police and council.”

Police received a number of reports, including in Purleigh Avenue and Wilberforce Place, some where items were taken from within.

Another resident suggested a vigilante group be set up amongst residents to better protect their property.

However, Warndon councillors Stephen Hodgson and Ceri Stalker have encouraged their constituents to “go down the proper routes” while taking extra precautions against such potential crimes.

Cllr Hodgson, who represents Warndon Parish North on the city council, said the police are stretched and unless more crimes are reported on the estate, officers are less likely to prioritise it.

“If they are aware more is going on in the Villages, then we will get more patrols,” he said.

“Obviously, the police don’t have as great resources as they once did and so they will focus their presence where the most recorded crime actually is.

“That’s another reason we encourage people in Warndon Villages to report crime.”

Referring to the potential for vigilantes, he said: “I don’t know how valuable it would be and how long term a system like that could be sustained. There’s more sensible things for it, for example neighbourhood watch, which is more established.

“Residents in Hartlepool, where I’m originally from, made the news when they started going around as vigilantes because they think local police aren’t putting the right resources in.

“But it doesn’t work. You’d need such a big pool of volunteers to patrol the estate, anyway.”

Councillor Stalker, who represents Warndon on the city and county councils, said: “We should go down the proper routes and go to the police and make sure we’re not leaving valuables out and take more precautions.

“Patrols are reduced everywhere. Officers are doing the best they can to deal with crime with less resources.”

Cllr Hodgson agreed: “We need to make sure people, when leaving their cars overnight, are not leaving valuables on display, including dashcams that could be attractive to a thief.

“If you can park your car on a driveway rather than on the street, wherever possible.”

He went on to say that crime goes “up and down” on the estate but that it is generally “low level” offences.

“Normally, it’s two or three people doing this. As soon as these people are arrested and brought to justice then the crime figures drop back to normal.

“The Villages only tends to get low level crime. But car break-ins cost money to repair and so I would emphasise residents keep valuables out of view.”

He said he fought against a renewal of a Public Space Protection Order last July, in which the city council’s communities committee decided to remove Warndon Villages from a public alcohol ban.

He said this was based on a lack of alcohol-related crime reported between April 2012 to January 2018.

Warndon SNTs Sergeant Carl Jones said: “We have received nine reports of vehicle related theft in the area, the majority of which were due to vehicles being left insecure and no damage was caused.

“We would like to remind people to ensure their vehicles are locked and no valuables are left inside leaving them vulnerable to opportunistic thieves.

“Every offence reported to us is assessed for the potential threat, harm and risk to the public and property.

“Resources are then allocated appropriately based on demand.

“Whilst we strive to provide the best possible level of service to our communities, there are instances where police may not prioritise responding lower level cases where there isn’t a prospect of a criminal justice outcome and the time spent on the investigation would not be proportionate, depending on demand at the time.

“We understand these offences concern the community and we do take such crimes seriously, but we do have to allocate resources to the higher risk crimes and incidents first.

“I would like to reassure residents that officers and the SNT for the area do carry out patrols in the area.”