An agent has called for more police support after his business was targeted by moped thieves just weeks after opening.
George Sifonios set up estate agent David Astburys in Crouch End, London, last month and found his branch swiftly targeted by moped thieves. He believes eight other local estate agents have been hit by moped gangs in recent weeks.
The thieves smashed through the shopfront and stole computer equipment from the agency before speeding off on their mopeds in the early-morning incident.
The culprits have not been caught but he believes they are the same hammer-wielding individuals who targeted a local tapas restaurant in a frightening incident last week.
Sifonios, who has worked in the area previously as lettings manager for Greene & Co and Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, said more needs to be done to keep the community and his staff safe.
He said: “We feel scared every time we are coming into the office as our computers are inside. We are now having to put additional security in.
“Our new starters feel uneasy and it is difficult to leave staff on their own. I don’t want to end up needing a security guard on the door.
“We have had calls from other agents who have suffered from break-ins.
“Our staff feel vulnerable, but when I ask the police if they are going to patrol the area to scare thieves off, they can’t promise anything.
“It’s a scary world at the minute.”
Agents may be particularly vulnerable because computer equipment can so easily be seen from the street, and because of their routine opening hours. While moped thefts have not been widely reported outside London, other agents should be warned.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told EYE yesterday that there is not a breakdown of stats to show how regularly agency branches are targeted and added that the issue hadn’t been raised as a major trend.
He also referred agents to guidance on the Met website on how to protect their business from burglaries.