Residents in Stanton targeted in a spate of linked burglaries have criticised police as it emerged a vital 999 call warning of men in balaclavas in the village was missed by the force.
A public meeting attended by more than 200 concerned residents was held last Friday to discuss the current wave of crime which has seen the number of burglaries in villages north of Bury St Edmunds reach 15 since last May.
The meeting, at Stanton Village Hall, was attended by Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, county and borough councillors and investigating officers from Suffolk Police.
But residents were shocked to discover at the meeting that a crucial 999 call that could have helped police catch the suspected perpetrators ‘red-handed’ was missed.
Stanton Borough Councillor Jim Thorndyke said the police ‘had not covered themselves in glory.’
He said: “Someone stood up in the meeting and said they had dialled 999 when he saw something suspicious but the police didn’t come.
“Apparently the police didn’t deem it as a crime in action so didn’t attend.
“He had the registration plate, the car model and everything. The only reason he didn’t have a description of the guys was because they were wearing balaclavas.
“He had a policeman come the next day to ask if he saw anything.”
Inspector Matt Dee from Suffolk Police, who attended the meeting, apologised for the missed opportunity.
He said: “We fully accept the point raised by the gentleman and thank him for his time and effort. He was totally right, it did warrant a call and our attendance.
“The call was fully recorded, however the chink in the armour is that officers were not notified and deployed.
“That would have been an ideal opportunity and would have given us the chance to catch them red-handed.”
Inspector Dee said Suffolk Police had been working closely with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire forces as they suspect crimes across the region may be linked.
He said crimes had taken place along key arterial routes, such as the A14, and that the majority of targets had been away from home at the time of the burglary. He said the public should not lose faith in the police and report anything suspicious in the area.