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Scheme set up to tackle spate of gold robberies
Detectives are enlisting Bradford’s jewellers, pawnbrokers and gold dealers in their battle against violent jewellery robbers.
And the move is being backed by a pawnbroker who has herself been a victim of a terrifying gunpoint raid.
The police set up Operation Scaldlock last month after six “horrific” raids in the city in a period of 12 days.
The senior detective leading the investigation is now setting up a voluntary code of conduct, called the Gold Standard, for traders of precious metals to sign up to.
The scheme will tighten security measures at pawnbrokers, gold traders and jewellers’ shops to restrict the opportunity for robbers and burglars to sell stolen goods on.
It aims to reward and support reputable traders, while helping the police to identify anyone who might be trading in stolen gold.
Those signing up would have to demonstrate they took the details of each person who sold precious metals to them.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, who is leading Operation Scaldlock, said: “I am extremely interested in anyone who may have information about where stolen gold is being sold.
“I hope to roll out the scheme over the coming weeks and offer support to those reputable businesses in Bradford while challenging those who would profit from crime.”
Although the scheme has not yet begun, one of the pawnbrokers keen to get involved is Cash For Gold in James Street, Bradford.
The shop, owned by television antiques dealer Tim Hogarth, already takes the names and addresses of anyone selling them jewellery or gold, and even asks to see photo ID.
Across the back of the counter are displayed photos and descriptions of items known to be stolen.
Manager Amanda Ryan said it meant the staff knew to turn away anyone trying to sell them on, and contact the police immediately.
Miss Ryan said any victims of crime could contact the shop to describe stolen jewellery.
She said: “We ask people to write down the details, with their crime reference number. If someone comes in with it, we will refuse to buy it, and we will get in touch with the owner and the police.”
Miss Ryan herself was a victim of a gunpoint robbery at the shop in November, when she was forced to hand over £3,000 in cash after a masked man pointed what appeared to be a gun in a carrier bag at her.
She said the number of robberies now happening across the city was “terrifying”.
Councillor Imran Hussain, deputy leader of Bradford Council and chairman of the Bradford District Community Safety Partnership, welcomed the Gold Standard idea.
He said: “The robbery of gold involving violence from homes in Bradford is an urgent priority.
“These horrific offences, sometimes targeting some of the most vulnerable victims, simply will not be tolerated.”
The announcement came as police were last night questioning two men about the string of raids.
Two Bradford men, aged 27 and 21, were arrested on Tuesday night on suspicion of robbery and remained in custody yesterday.
They were being questioned about an armed robbery in Emm Lane, Heaton, on January 8, in which armed men wielding a gun and a hammer burst into a house, leaving the householders traumatised.
But a police spokesman said the men would also be questioned about other jewellery robberies.
Last week, a further three men, aged 30, 29 and 22, were arrested on January 18, on suspicion of robbing a home in Lynfield Drive, Daisy Hill, Bradford, on January 17.
During the terrifying raid, a 36-year-old mother had a gun held to her head and was beaten and tied up in front of her 16-month-old baby.
The men, who are all also from Bradford, have since been released on police bail, pending further enquiries.