Brazen thieves used a blowtorch to break into two homes in the same Peak District village in a matter of hours in the latest example of a terrifying new trend.
The criminals used the tool to burn a hole through a uPVC front door to gain entry to a house in Tideswell, Derbyshire, where they stole £33,000 of vehicles.
They took wallets and keys to a £25,000 Audi S1, as well as a £4,500 limited edition 2016 KTM 125 motorbike and a 2018 electric Devinci Ebike worth £4,000.
Police said the break-in method at 3.15am on Tuesday was unusual and linked it to another burglary nearby just 35 minutes later which again saw a blowtorch used.
It comes one year after police 20 miles away in Stockport warned of a spate of new blowtorch burglaries, with reports of similar crimes also in Bradford and Hull.
The criminals gained access to the home in Tideswell by burning through the PVC in the front door using a blowtorch before stealing wallets and keys to the expensive vehicles
Ms West described the £25,000 Audi S1 as her ‘pride and joy’ and appealed for its return
Kerrie West woke up to find two thieves loading the expensive bikes into a van before driving off with her Audi in the early hours of Tuesday in Tideswell, Derbyshire
Kerrie West, from Tideswell, was woken at about 2am on Tuesday and spotted the pair loading some of the stolen items in the back of a van.
But before the family were able to confront the robbers, the duo managed to speed off with the expensive items.
Ms West, a bodybuilder who owns her own fitness business, shared pictures of her ruined front door on Facebook as she appealed for help.
She wrote: ‘Stolen. Please share ASAP. My absolute pride and joy has been nicked.
The limited edition 2016 KTM 125 motorbike worth £4,500 was also stolen during the crime
The 2018 electric Devinci Ebike, valued at about £4,000, was also lost to the thieves
Ms West’s Facebook post was shared thousands of times by friends and well wishers this week
‘Around 2am in the morning two lads in a dark transit van broke into the house and took the keys. Not only this they have taken my purse, my dad’s wallet and other things. Please share’.
How to protect your home against blowtorch burglaries
Blowtorch burglaries see thieves use a blowtorch to enter homes by attacking door handles and locks.
The crimes are mostly carried out on uPVC and composite doors.
Locksmiths claim one defence method is fitting an anti-snap lock to a door, which should be SS312 Diamond Approved or TS007 3 Star.
Another is adding sash jammers to your door, which will stop the door opening if the lock is bypassed.
The Master Locksmith Association said blowtorch burglaries are not yet very common in Britain because lock snapping is much quicker and therefore easier for criminals.
But there have been recent reports of the crimes being carried out in Hull, Stockport, Bradford and Derbyshire.
Derbyshire Constabulary has confirmed officers were investigating the theft and said they believed it was linked to other break-ins in the area.
One user wrote under the post: ‘Absolute b******s. Hope they’re found very quickly and given their karma. Sorry that low life scum have done this.’
Another said: ‘Never heard of a blowtorch being used… you’re lucky you’re still here to write this post… absolute scummy b******s they are.’
One user wrote: ‘The audacity of using a blowtorch now to force entry.’ Another commented: ‘Wow, they could have burned the house down and killed people.’
A spokesman for Derbyshire Constabulary said: ‘At 3.15am on December 15, a house in Church Lane, Tideswell, was broken into.
‘The thieves took a wallet and a set of keys, which they used to steal the victim’s yellow Audi S1. They also took a motocross trail bike and an electric Devinci bike.
‘We are linking the theft to a similar crime that took place in the village that morning. At 3.50am, two men broke into a house in Tithe Barn Close.
‘They searched the house but didn’t steal anything. In both cases, a blow torch was used to break in through the door.
‘This is an unusual crime and the victim’s were understandably left very upset. We are investigating and have been speaking to villagers to gather CCTV from the area.
‘If you have any information, we would urge you to get in touch quoting reference 20000660662.’