RESIDENTS living in a quiet street in Wallisdown say they have been left living in fear following a spate of burglaries in the area.

Some residents in Bascott Road say they are too scared to leave their properties after a number of homes were targeted by thieves in recent months.

At a residents meeting held on Friday Margaret O’Conner said she felt tricked after her handbag was stolen on Good Friday.

The 86-year-old, who lives alone, said a man who claimed to be carrying out gardening work at her neighbour’s property came to her home asking to see her back garden.

“I was in the front garden with my dog,” she explained.

“He came in and said he was cutting hedge next door and asked to go into the back garden.

“I walked him through my bungalow and showed him the hedge.

“It wasn’t until the evening I realised my handbag had been stolen.”

Mandy Cooper who also lives in Bascott Road, said her 50th birthday was ruined after she was burgled last month.

“They took a lot of jewellery and some money,” she said.

“They turned our bedroom upside down. I just wanted to sit there and cry.

“They took my birthday money and the Euros we had for our holiday.

“I was so upset but I knew I had to carry on because we had family coming around.”

Residents said one disabled woman who lives on the street had her purse stolen in front of her as she sat in her wheelchair powerless to stop him.

Edward Mills said there had been nine thefts, burglaries or instances when residents have reported seeing strangers “rattling” door handles to see if they were unlocked since December.

He said: “People are frightened to leave their homes. They are too scared to go on holiday.

“It’s not right that people are living in fear.”

Number of offences falling

Sergeant Steve Houston from Winton Police Station said reducing the rate of burglaries in the area was a priority for the force.

“Reducing burglary is a priority for Dorset Police as demonstrated by the resulting year-on-year reduction in offences of 8.9 per cent,” he said.

“Dorset Police want residents to be safe and feel safe and provide extensive crime prevention advice through local Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

“Victims of burglaries and those who feel vulnerable to burglary are offered home security surveys which can be arranged through their local Safer Neighbourhood Team.”

He added: “If you see anything suspicious in your area please call 101 or 999 if it is an emergency or happening at that time.”