A SPATE of house burglaries across a borough has united a group of residents to tackle the issue.

Worried Darwen residents asked police officers to lead an information evening at Whitehall Hotel on Tuesday following a series of house burglaries in the area since the turn of the year.

The event was organised by Christine Lambe, who lives in Whitehall Road, after her family was recently targeted by a balaclava-clad gang who stole her son’s BMW.

She said: “I watch a lot of CSI on TV but little did I know that was going to happen to me.”

The 57-year-old mother, who broke into tears during her speech, said her family now feel ‘vulnerable’ living in their own home following the ‘terrifying’ experience.

Christine invited detective inspector Martin Melvin to talk to residents about how to protect their homes from burglars at the Ross Street hotel.

The detective inspector was joined by crime scene investigator Dave Atkinson, Darwen sergeant Shelly Parker and Darwen community officers Kevin Beesley and Jon Hulton, who all gave practical advice to visitors on how to keep their houses and property safe following the spate of burglaries to homes in Darwen.

It was revealed that 26 house burglaries, included attempted burglaries, had taken place around in Darwen since January 1, with half of these incidents occurring overnight.

The number of house burglaries has dropped by 16 per cent compared to last year, where there were 31 incidents.

The criminals predominantly come from Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, officers said.

To deter the burglars the police team recommended people install security lights, pad locks, house alarms and CCTV cameras.

Mr Melvin, who has worked in the police force for 24 years, said: “The team are committed to reduce crime levels even further and will work alongside the residents and community of Darwen to achieve that.”

Hamad Saleem, 43, who has lived in Darwen for 27 years and attended the meeting, said he felt ‘reassured’ by police after he a burglar broke into home back in June.

He said: “It’s reassuring to know that we have the police force on hand to help improve our safety.”