An “affluent” Sutton neighbourhood that has been hit by a spate of reported burglaries is fighting back against thieves by setting up a vigilance group.

Residents in Higher Drive, who are fed up of being targeted, have taken action by forming a 90-member strong WhatsApp network.

It comes as they reported up to 10 burglaries – among “many more attempted” – in the past month or so within the area.

Frustrated Maliha Butt is one of the alleged victims of the crime and believes this can help counter the problem, with suspicions the burglaries are there is a gang behind all this.

She said: “They rip off wall hangings and mirrors because they're looking for a safe. They only go into female rooms because they're looking for diamond jewellery, gold, cash, expensive handbags, that kind of stuff.

“They do a reconnaissance mission where they come a few days before, stake the place out, and they've even been caught staking the place out, but all the number plates and things that we've been giving end up being either fake or not the right plates.

“These people, I think, have been trained. I don't even think it's like some random robber that's thinking, 'I'm just going to steal some goods'.

“They're not going for iPads, they're not going for laptops, they're going for gold, jewellery, cash, and anything that's expensive.”


The PhD student, who has lived in Higher Drive for more than 30 years since she was six, says residents have “never had crime like this”.

She recalled one time where she went up to Birmingham University for a couple days and was told by a neighbour they had seen a car parked outside their home and looking into her property.

After ringing 999 they were told to dial 101, waiting 45 minutes, but soon enough the vehicle had left and, that same day they were reportedly burgled.

Ms Butt added: “It's really, really difficult and it's proving really frustrating for a lot of us because it's quite an affluent area.

“We're all very hard working people that have worked very hard for our homes that are very nice, and they are very palatial, and they are very fancy.

“But at the same time all of them are now being targeted and it's really hard to deal with that.”


Although the group has only been active for a few weeks, efforts to try and improve safety include approaching people in Higher Drive who "look suspicious" and helping residents plan ahead if they are gone for a while.

There have also been talks to install 24-hour security as another preventative measure, costing up to £90 per household a month according to Ms Butt.

Now they hope the new measure will catch the people responsible in the act and before turning them over to police.

A Sutton police spokesman said two substantive burglaries have been reported in Higher Drive since November 1, but neither investigation has progressed because the suspects haven't been identified.

He added: “We fully understand the harm caused to the community by crime, and we encourage residents to be vigilant for anything that doesn’t seem right.

“We understand residents have been passing information to the police, and we ask that they continue to do so, being our eyes and ears.”

He also urged for anything suspicious to be reported to residents' safer neighbourhood team.