STRANGERS have been walking through security entrances at offices around Shoreditch, sussing out what could be stolen, then quietly leaving without being challenged.
It’s not what you think. The interlopers are police officers, from the Haggerston Safer Neighbourhoods Team, demonstrating the need for desktop vigilance.
They had no trouble strolling into ten office blocks, no questions asked. Once inside they could have taken anything from bikes, laptops, mobile phones and purses. Instead, they left a calling card on desks, offering crime-prevention advice to embarrassed staff.
PC Dominic Persad, 37, told Loving Dalston: “It was surprising how few people actually challenged us in the office blocks, some of them six-floor buildings.
How did they get through the ubiquitous reception-area door staff? PC Persad knows a few tricks. He said: “My colleague and I would follow behind people as they passed through the security barriers. We were wearing casual clothes and carrying rucksacks.
“Once inside, we sometimes walked around together, sometimes we split up.
“We walked past people working at terminals, just carrying on and taking no notice of us. On one occasion we found ourselves in a staff area where we could have taken personal items; another time we were in an area of a hotel where there was lots of drink lying about.
“Office theft is a problem. There’s been a number of non-residential burglaries around Shoreditch: people sneaking in and taking stuff, as well as forced entry overnight.
“A lot of it is individuals walking in, not being challenged, then leaving with wallets, phones, laptops. We found Brompton fold-up bikes left in stairwells, well out of sight. We could have taken loads of valuable items.”
The officers are arranging to return to the offices — in uniform this time —to give advice to the laidback workers.
* For burglary advice, including non-residential, contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team by phoning 101. Picture shows a wedding at Shoreditch town hall, romantic heart of the once-self-standing borough.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.