Police launch stolen goods roadshow

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The Independent Online
THE REV Michael Binstock was a happy but sadly rare species yesterday - a burglary victim reunited with his stolen silver candlesticks.

They had been a wedding present, part of a haul taken six years ago from his home in north- west London. Mr Binstock had turned up at 58 Buckingham Gate, near Victoria, central London, yesterday for the first day of a two-day Scotland Yard version of the Antiques Roadshow, where 2,000 stolen items were on display in the hope of finding their rightful owners.

According to the latest figures for the Metropolitan Police area there were 54,042 burglaries between June and September this year. Fewer than one in six (8,173) have been 'cleared up'.

The roadshows, which will tour eight venues over the coming months, are part of a campaign against burglaries, Operation Bumblebee, which has seen dawn raids on homes of suspects. During that time the number of burglaries fell by almost 6,000 compared with the equivalent quarter in 1992 and the number of crimes 'cleared up' rose by 500.

The police are anxious to find the owners of the 2,000 items - including a pounds 5,000 jet-ski - not only because they know how important some of them are to the families who lost them.

They also know that catching a suspected burglar with their haul is not enough to get a conviction. To prove the goods are stolen, they need a rightful owner, and they are still introducing computer databases to help match stolen goods to crimes.

(Photograph omitted)