Roadshow hits right note for burglary victim

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The Independent Online
Burglary victim Dorothy Goodwin was unexpectedly reunited with her flute - a 40th birthday present from her husband - at the weekend.

She discovered the musical instrument, taken along with her wedding and engagement rings during a raid on her home in Plumstead, south-east London, on display at the largest police roadshow of stolen property.

On show at the civic centre in Bromley, south-east London, were a selection of stolen goods, valued at pounds 40m, which the Metropolitan Police had recovered during Operation Bumblebee, its campaign to crackdown on burglary in the capital.

Mrs Goodwin, 43, said the flute was "the first thing I saw when I came in. It was a sentimental item and I am just totally stunned to recover it. I just hope they have my wedding and engagement rings here as well".

Among other items on show were an antique Chinese bowel worth pounds 20,000, a horse-drawn carriage worth pounds 8,000, 15 motor cycles and two items of antique furniture worth pounds 7,000 stolen from a museum at Hastings in East Sussex.

Sergeant Geoff Boycott, who is in charge of the roadshow, said: "If more people took photographs of their property there would be less need for roadshows like this one because stolen property could be identified more quickly."

Although most forces run anti-burglary campaigns, only the Metropolitan police, Avon and Somerset, Norfolk and Interpol use a computerised imaging system where photographs of stolen items are logged for comparison with pictures of property recovered by police.

Sheenagh and Victor Southin, from Bromley, who lost property worth more than pounds 10,000 when they were burgled three days after Christmas, were overjoyed to find some of their treasures at the roadshow.

Mrs Southin, who recovered three watches - one of which had been in the family for two generations - and some gold jewellery, said: "They found all this stuff in the River Cray which was just amazing. What I want now is for the police to put a face to the person who came in our bungalow."

With 1,750 people through the doors on Saturday alone, Operation Bumblebee, which has been running for nine months, is being hailed as a success. Rosalind Judd, 43, from Sydenham, south-east London, said: "I think I might have found my gold bracelet which was stolen about three years ago."

Sgt Boycott said: "We have seen a 16 per cent fall in the number of burglaries since the introduction of Bumblebee, but things would be a lot better if people marked their property with post codes or installed extra locks and burglar alarms."