Police warn against burglary risk after six properties targeted in Ipswich by ‘tree surgeon’ gang

Stonechat Road, Ipswich, one location where the rogue tree surgeons are said to have operated. Pictu

Stonechat Road, Ipswich, one location where the rogue tree surgeons are said to have operated. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: archant

A warning has been issued after distraction burglaries police believe are connected to a gang of rogue tree surgeons.

Suffolk Constabulary has received several reports of homes in Ipswich, primarily those with older occupants, being targeted by the group on the same day, May 12.

It is said they have carried out work for a nominal sum but victims have later found property, particularly jewellery and cash, had been stolen.

In Stonechat Road four men visited a property and carried out some work between noon and 1pm. Jewellery and cash, including foreign currency, and personal documents was later found to have been stolen.

Around 1pm three men approached a home in Waltham Close and advised there had been complaints regarding some trees in the garden.

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The victim consented to the work and left the property to withdraw cash from her bank account, then paid the men. She later discovered the front door had been tampered with, her property disturbed and jewellery stolen.

Between 2pm and 3pm a man knocked on the door of a second home in Waltham Close with four younger men offering their services to remove some green waste. The victim consented, but later discovered a quantity of jewellery was missing from the home.

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At approximately 3.15pm a man approached a home in The Lawns and requested access to the garden, alleging that he and a second man were working at a neighbouring address and needed to ensure their work would not disturb the victim’s garden. The victim later found a quantity of jewellery missing from the home.

Around 4pm up to eight men approached a man in his 30s and a woman in her 60s as they returned to a home in Curlew Road, claiming they were from the council and had been tasked to cut down the trees in the front garden. The men avoided showing ID and, without consent, proceeded to cut the trees down.

They left the property as the victims called police. It is not believed any property was stolen on this occasion.

Around 4.30pm a man knocked on the door of a property in Holcombe Crescent. He had completed some garden work the previous day with four others, and was returning for property said to have been mislaid.

The victim went to the garden with the man but became suspicious. Back inside, the victim noticed his property disturbed and a quantity of cash and a black starting pistol missing.

On each occasion the suspects are believed to have been travelling in a white transit van. Some victims have recalled a trailer containing an orange wood chipper. A further report has suggested the van was a white tipper-style lorry, with a black tilt.

Suffolk Constabulary is urging residents against agreeing to work by someone that calls unannounced at their door, or approaches them on the street.

Those seeking reputable companies can access the Suffolk Trader Scheme which promotes the use of Checkatrade’s directory of local tradesmen who have been verified by Suffolk Trading Standards and are committed to treating their customers fairly.

For further advice please see this page on Suffolk County Council’s website.

If you are unable to access the online directory please call 0845 408 4866.

Anyone with information regarding any of the incidents is asked to contact CID South at Suffolk police on 101 quoting reference 35155/17.

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