RENTAL garages are being targeted by thieves in Colchester – and the lighting switch-off is being blamed.
Most street lights are turned off between midnight and 5am and residents in parts of the town are complaining the area has become a burglars’ paradise.
Between Friday, December 20, and Monday, December 23, several break-ins took place at garages in Stalin Road.
Police were called after doors were smashed and goods taken.
Kayleigh Pinfold, 27, of Normandy Avenue, said: “I have had the garage for six years without any problems.
“The lights go out and burglars start breaking in. It is pitch black by the garages now.
“I went there on Sunday morning and the door had been broken.
“The thieves had taken DVDs, a table and went through everything.
“This garage contains 27 years of my life. The door wouldn’t close properly and they came back the next night and took more.”
The garages are owned by Colchester Council.
Another victim told the Gazette: “The thieves tried to get into my garage between the Friday and Saturday and had broken into another.
“It has never happened before, but the lights go out and this happens.
Everyone knew crime would go up when the lights went off.
“They may be saving a few pounds, but it will end up costing more and the criminals are laughing.”
Police are keeping a check on crime rates and monitoring the light switch-off in areas, including Colchester, but senior officers have not yet reported on any effect on crime.
A police spokesman confirmed items including a leather chair, DVDs and CDs had been stolen in the raids.
Anyone with information about the break-ins is urged to call Colchester police on 101.