A CRIME-FIGHTING charity is launching a campaign in Essex to gather intelligence on Asian gold being stolen.

Crimestoppers is asking Essex residents to share any information they have on those involved in stealing gold, as there were more than 160 incidents where Asian gold was stolen in 2017.

Braintree, Uttlesford and Chelmsford were the areas that suffered the most, with a combined 99 thefts.

Crimestoppers, who allow residents to report crimes anonymously, have launched the campaign in the run up to the festival of Diwali on Wednesday, the Hindu festival of lights, one of the most popular in south Asia.

Asian Gold can be a particular target as it tends to be higher quality and there are a number of festivals approaching where communities will be gathering to celebrate, leaving homes empty.

Crimestoppers is asking local people to speak up if they have information about those who may have stolen these valuable items, but also to take care of their belongings.

Recommended steps include keeping all jewellery and other valuables in a safety deposit box, high value gold and jewellery at home, hidden and discreet in public, being vigilant during holidays, weddings and events, and ensuring all jewellery is digitally recorded and insured.

Phil Breckon, Eastern Regional Manager for Crimestoppers, said: “Gold theft can be immensely upsetting for victims. Jewellery being stolen is often of huge sentimental value and has been passed down through generations.

“Please speak up about those targeting Asian gold and be an ambassador for our community; do the right thing by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously. I can guarantee that nobody will know you contacted us.

“You will not have to give a statement to the police or go to court – in over 30 years we have always kept our guarantee of anonymity.”

Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.