A GANG of teenagers has broken into a string of properties in Morningside after carrying out “scouting” missions.
The thieves are believed to have been studying neighbours’ habits before pouncing on their homes when there is no-one in.
At least a dozen houses have been broken into since the turn of the year – with families returning home to find their windows smashed, cars stolen and belongings missing.
Some neighbours have now even gone to the extent of having CCTV installed in an effort to warn off the heartless thieves.
As well as Morningside, they have been targeting £300,000 homes in nearby Greenbank and Craiglockhart. It’s thought the gang is looking for car keys – with a BMW believed to be amongst their haul so far.
One dad of two, who lives in Wester Hill, Greenbank, returned from a New Year’s break on January 2 to discover that his home had been ransacked.
The man, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “Our neighbour managed to capture some of what happened on their CCTV cameras and it looks like five youths targeted our house.
“You can see a car pulling up and one of them going up to the front door and sticking a mobile phone [using its torch] through the letterbox.
“Then you can see the rest of them heading round the back where they must have smashed the back window because it was shattered when we got back.
“Once they got into the property, our alarm went off and spooked them but it looks like they went upstairs because our bedside drawers were open.
“They also smashed one of my wife’s vases in the living room.”
Some of the victims have reported the incident to local MSP Miles Briggs, who said he had taken the matter up with police and the Justice Minister.
He said: “Constituents in areas that have been affected by recent break-ins, car thefts and attempted break-ins are understandably anxious and alarmed.
“I encourage local people to be vigilant and urge anyone who witnesses suspicious behaviour, such as cars that appear to be ‘casing properties’, to contact the police.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said they were aware of the recent rise in housebreakings in the south and south west of the city.
He said: “We are actively pursuing a number of lines of inquiry to trace those responsible and return stolen property to its rightful owners. Tackling housebreaking remains a priority within the division and officers are regularly tasked to patrol priority areas and undertake prevention activities.
“We treat all reports of housebreaking extremely seriously and members of the public who witness any suspicious activity around homes, businesses and vehicles should report their concerns to police.”