09:57AM, Friday 05 October 2012
An epidemic of burglaries has left a village's inhabitants frightened and nervous.
Old Windsor - usually regarded as having the lowest crime rate in the Royal Borough - has suffered 15 reported burglaries and five attempted break-ins over the summer period, mostly concentrated in the last two months.
Now the arrest of three residents of the Manor Lodge Probation Hostel in the heart of the village has added to the unease. All three were charged with burglary and recalled to prison.
Parish council chairman Cllr Jane Dawson said: "This has all caused great anxiety and made people worried about the safety of their homes.
"The social network has changed things. People are finding out about each burglary as soon as it happens and talking about it when they bump into each other in the street."
Parish councillor Chris Andrews said: "It is an epidemic. I confronted a man at about 3.15pm in my garden. He said something about cleaning my windows, his speech was slurred."
One resident has reported a major fight as police used CS gas to restrain one youth who turned violent when challenged.
Extra police controls have been on duty in the village, including horse patrols along the footpaths.
Inspector Pete Dalton from Windsor said: "We are acutely aware of concerns and are working hard in the community to reduce concerns."
The alleged involvement of three residents in the probation hostel was described as a 'source of great regret' this week by Fiona Tarrant - communications manager for Thames Valley Probation.
She said: "We are very upset this has happened.
"We have had a good relationship with the village over the years. We lay down strict rules for residents of our hostel.
"We have now issued an open invitation to any villagers who want to visit the hostel."
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.