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The pattern of crime reported to Essex Police peaked in July 2018 when, in our view with full justification to be concerned, a new Neighbourhood Watch was mooted for Baldwins Hill, which had suddenly found itself the target for vehicle crime and during 2019 there was a worrying use of roads in our area for drug relate activity. The colder evenings have brought welcome relief and we will be upping pressure on the local police to keep an eye on our roads as the evenings draw out again. Updated statistics can be found on the Essex Police website here and are regularly reported on HillsWatch. The service has now been suspended during the 2020 lockdown with the latest figures available in this form being for January 2020 (see diagram).

For updated information on the Hills go to HillsWatch

The danger of car theft was writ large for local residents with this post on the HillsWatch Facebook page: “Just had 4 people on my drive who broke the back window of my car. Made off in a white focus ST. The lovely man in the middle stands by the front with an axe (inset and enlarged) clearly in view. Alarm woke us up and they ran off.- Baldwin’s Hill.”  This prompted another resident to post “The man looks similar to the man who stole from our car last year. We do have his name.” Followed by a Pump Hill resident who wrote: “Someone tried to get into my car on Pump Hill on Sunday night – alarm went off and I saw one man run off wearing a light coloured hoody.”  And: ”Our car was stolen off our drive early hours Saturday morning 00:06 on Kings Green, Loughton. GY64 UUK, navy Range Rover Evoque – please let me know if you may have seen it or anything in relation. We have him on camera!”

This exchange may well have persuaded a young person (who is indeed ‘known to the authorities”) to go elsewhere, if it were indeed that person – and a few more of us to remember two things:

1 Use a steering wheel lock –

Enough to deter anyone

but the most determined

2 Use a car key signal blocker case

– guaranteed protection for around £6 for two.  What not to like?

Watch Group formed around Foresters on Baldwins Hill

Residents push back after spate of car thefts and incidents related to drug dealing and taking

A new neighbourhood watch group was formed for the Baldwins Hill area on Wednesday 15 August 2018 by some 20 residents who met at the Foresters Arms at the invitation of licensee Lucy and organised by Sue Taylor of the Epping Forest Neighbourhood Watch.The new group will be run by Lucy and will focus on the current prime concern of drug dealing and taking which the meeting concluded is leading to many related offence of theft from vehicles and homes and anti-social behaviour generally. Hills Watch will establish a link to the new group and work closely with it.  Hills Amenity Society welcomes this initiative and hopes it will lead to other associated groups being established along the forest edge in the York Hill, Staples Road, Queens Road and linked roads.Co-ordinator Lucy can be contacted at (or by visiting the pub for a drink and/or meal!

Addressing the group former police officer Paul Harris offered a great deal of good advice on keeping homes, cars and possession safe. He also proposed a plan for pulsing back on drugs and drug dealing which the meeting concluded is at the root of the current spate of offences He urged all residents to start a log of what they see by:

  • Recording time, date and location
  • Numbers of people with and descriptions where possible
  • Registration numbers of vehicles
  • What is left behind (capsules, cigarette papers etc)

He said that by recording such information and filing it with Essex Police we would raise the level of priority given to this area. As always, in cases of emergency ring 999, less urgent to 101 and for the record by email to or using the online service

Tips for a crime free Christmas

Before you leave the house:

1. Garden tools securely locked away in the shed – tools can be used to break into your house.

2. Radio and lights on a timer in rooms you would normally occupy, there is even a device called “Fake TV” that flashes a series of lights when it gets dark that looks like the TV is on. There are now door bells that you can view and answer from your Smartphone.

3. Lock up properly not just your windows and doors in the house, but also any gates and outbuildings.

4. Choose a “Park Mark” car park where you can as these are vetted by the police and have measures create a safer environment.

5. Leave nothing in sight within your car, remove the “Sat Nav” cradle and clean the mark on the windscreen.

6. Make sure you lock your car.

7. Watch your purse, wallet, mobile phone and handbag especially in busy places, don’t leave them on display in bags or on counters while you pay, and while you’re paying watch that no one is watching you entering your PIN when making purchases or withdrawing cash.

8. Time to stop for lunch or a cuppa, don’t drop your guard: if a thief sees it a thief will steal it.

9. Need to off load some of those purchases in the car, look around: are you being watched? Back to (5 & 6) above again.

10. Don’t fall for distractions while you load the car i.e. “you dropped some money” pointing to cash on the ground, holding a map “can you tell me the way to….”. While you are engaged the second person steals from your car on the other side. Close and lock your car before speaking to anyone.

Further crime prevention advice see or ring Essex Police on 101.

Take care:  Part of Baldwins Hill named by Essex Police as Burglary Hotspot

Stony Path and the Harwater Drive area have been named as burglary hotspots in the most recent release from Essex Police.  WATCH OUT – there’s a thief about. Burglars often settle on an area they reckon has easy pickings If you see anything suspicious, please report it. Numbers below.

Hills Amenity Society charged with designing signs for Conservation Area

THE HILLS AMENITY SOCIETY’s long term wish for signs showing the start of the Conservation Area is enshrined in three documents published by Epping Forest District Council during the summer.
The responsibility for designing the signs is laid firmly at the door of the Society, as we requested in the draft documents.
The Appraisal Working Party suggested signs at the main entry points to the Hills coupled with a general speed restriction of 20mph, a proposal generally well received and supported by residents.  Comments received are on our website.
Road signs might be amended to include recognition of the conservation area as in Wanstead (see picture).

The working group also agreed  it would be good to include a warning to lorries.  The Hills Committee would like to hear from you if you would like to design a sign along the lines of the illustration below:

York Hill still a target for juggernauts

This was the scene early Tuesday morning, 30 July 2018, when (yet another) Eastern European truck found its way to the top of York Hill – and then down again. Remarkable really that the (only?) reported damage was the demolition of four recently re-sited bollards and the new York Hill road sign in the process. Many thanks to Lawrence at the top of York Hill for the photos. By the end of the day things had been tidied up but the corner will be there for the taking until work can be scheduled to replace them…

The boundary wall of the end terrace cottage near the entrance to Kings Hill has been repaired after being damaged twice in just a few months. And the culprit:  a giant lorry, AGAIN.The previous occasion saw the owner running up the road in his pyjamas to catch the offending vehicle. The second time (pictured) the offender was caught on a private Cctv camera: the outline of the truck can be made out at the top of the picture above right.  The damaged wall is pictured above left. Hills Committee continues to press for action to deter these massive intruders with faulty satnavs. The house is now for sale (see Property for Sale) and we offer our condolences to the owner and thanks to Alison Trauttmansdorff for the pictures.

The Loughton Hills Conservation Areas are a designated Neighbourhood Watch area.  Please be observant and report anything suspicious. Together we can keep our area safe for all of us.

If you have been experiencing any problems with Speeding Cars and or Antisocial Behaviour around Queens Road & York Hill please can we ask that you report ALL incidents by dialling 101 or to Loughton Police Station / Essex Police and also email PC Bob (part of the Local Policing Team) cc

The Local Police Team have advised residents that if enough people feel the way we do they may be able to build up a case for the police to come and patrol our roads to help put a stop to these issues.

We would also strongly recommend you to talk to the local police team at their regular surgeries – this can be helpful for residents – and for the police.

Other local informal Police “surgeries” & future dates for Costa & Barrington Hall: (Enter your post-code and then click on Events).<>.

Queens Road Resident

(Name and address supplied)

Fifteen booked: On sunny Sunday 21 April police were at the bottom of York Hill issuing tickets after complaints of  20 cars illegally parked. Fifteen were booked according to our information.

Hill brawl: A resident reported a number of youths brawling on Baldwins Hill. The police were called.

See below for list of useful numbers.

Top Ten Tips to Home Security

1.  Windows – most burglars will want to enter your property from the rear and it is most likely that they will look to force a window to gain entry.  Breaking a window will usually be a last resort as this will attract unwanted attention so you should turn your attention to visibly securing them with key operated locks.

2.  Lighting – burglars don’t like to be in the spotlight so you should ensure you have outdoor lights fitted that operate on a sensor switch (to save electricity) which activates when movement is detected.  Using timer switches can be a good deterrent for an opportunist thief if you are away for a few days.

3.  Burglar Alarms – many homes still do not have a burglar alarm and this should be a basic security measure on all homes.  The siren box will act as a visual deterrent to some extent (dummy sirens can also be bought cheaply) and you can choose a system that simply lets off an alarm or one that dials a preset number or a local security company.

4.  Doors – It is imperative that you ensure your external doors are strong, in good condition and secured to a high standard.  Fitting a 5 lever mortice deadlock or extra sliding bolts will greatly imporve security and french doors – which are much weaker than singular doors – should be fitted with top and bottom mortice locks on both doors.

5.  Gates and Fences – a weak or low fence can make gaining access to the rear of your property much easier.  Sturdy 6ft fences makes the task a little harder and thorny hedges such as Hawthorne make a good deterrent.  Gates should also be similarly sturdy and locked from the inside with a bolt that is out of reach as a minimum standard.

6.  Spare Key – never hide a spare key in convenient location, it will be just as convenient for the average burglar too and will hand the house to them on a silver platter.

7.  Don’t Leave Valuables in Sight – Fitting blinds or net curtains will make it harder to see into your property.  You should be proud of you 40″ LCD TV but do you want to advertise it to an opportunist thief?

8.  Buy a Safe – if you have particularly valuable items such as jewellery or large sums of cash in the house then it is a good idea to purchase a safe which can be secured in place in a hidden location.  Passports, unused credit cards, etc should also ideally be locked away.

9.  Mark your Property – so that if you are burgled your possessions can be identified should the police recover them.  This can be achieved by etching your postcode, surname and house number/name onto the item, or, where this is not practical, using an ultraviolet marker.

10.  Don’t Advertise Your Absence – many people now use social networking websites such as to tell everyone about their daily exploits.  Don’t unwittingly give details of when you’re going on holiday by mentioning dates etc.

A free advice pack designed to help elderly and vulnerable consumers protect themselves against doorstep rogue traders has been launched by Essex County Council Trading Standards and its partners.

The pack contains a do’s and don’ts leaflet, a doorstep ‘no cold calling’ sticker and information about Buy with Confidence – a Trader Approval Scheme run by Trading Standards. It also gives information about how to register for telephone and mail preference services which block spam calls and mail.

The pack will be given out by Essex County Council Trading Standards officers and its partners Brentwood Borough Council and Braintree District Council – as part of the Essex County Council Trading Standards, Brentwood Borough Council and Braintree District Council partnership which was launched last year.

This financial year Essex County Council Trading Standards has dealt with 214 doorstep incidents in the county. The pack, designed by the three councils, gives elderly and vulnerable people the tools to help prevent doorstep crime and feel confident about living independently.

Neighbours, families and friends are asked to remain vigilant and keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable residents living in their area. If you think you or a friend or neighbour may have been the victim of a scam, call Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.

Essex County Councillor Roger Walters, Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “We hope this pack will give those most at risk the tools to protect themselves and the confidence to say no to rogue traders. Our aims for the pack are to give people simple hints and tips on how not to fall victim to rogue traders on their doorstep. The packs are also a good opportunity to promote the use of the Buy with Confidence scheme to assist consumers with making informed decisions on which traders to use for services in their home.”

Councillor Robert Mitchell, Deputy Cabinet Member for Place at Braintree District Council, said: “These incidents cause distress and upset to so many vulnerable people in their homes and we want to do everything we can to support them. By working together on creating this pack, we hope that people will feel more confident in dealing with these incidents in the future.”

Councillor Tony Sleep, Chairman of Brentwood Borough Council’s Environment Panel, said: “I’m pleased we are taking this initiative to counter those who knock on your door without the best of intentions. I think it’s good that we are also giving a pack of information that will help people deal with doorstep rogues.”

Follow this advice to protect you and your friends and family from rogue traders:

1.            Never agree to have work carried out on your house or garden by anyone who knocks at your door.

2.            Always check that the information provided in leaflets posted through your door is genuine for example check the address actually exists.

3.            Don’t feel pressurised into signing a contract and do not respond to scare tactics such as your roof/chimney is in a dangerous condition.

4.            Always obtain at least three quotations before signing a contract and be specific about what work should be covered.

5.            If you need household repairs or maintenance use a Buy With Confidence business via 08454 040506 or These businesses are audited and approved by Trading Standards.

6.            Keep an eye on elderly, vulnerable neighbours, friends and family members and report any doorstep activity to Trading Standards via the helpline on 08454 040506.

7.            Never pay money up front. If asked for a deposit only agree to a small percentage of the full price.

8.            Never let anyone into your property unless you have checked their identity; keep the door chain on or shut the door while you check.

9.            Don’t be embarrassed or frightened if you have been caught out by a doorstep/rogue trader, Trading Standards can help.

10.          Report any suspicious activity to Trading Standards via the helpline on 08454 040506 or to Essex Police on 101.

So what can we do?

The advice below is often common sense, but you might overlook it in your haste to get everything ready. We have applied normal crime prevention advice to Christmas.

Out Shopping

When the shops are crowded, the pickpocket has more chance to steal from you. If you can’t arrange to shop during less busy times, make sure you stay alert and be extra careful with your wallet or purse.   Never keep them in accessible and vulnerable rear trouser pockets.

If you have too many bags you will be too busy trying to hold on to these to be aware of anyone stealing from you. You could try to make smaller shopping trips rather than do it all at once and carry too much. Have your purse/wallet close to your body and don’t carry too much cash. The same applies to travelling on crowded buses or trains. If you travel by car, make sure you park in a well- lit area, lock all doors and windows and do not leave presents in view. Try not to return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping trip as thieves may well watch car parks for just such a chance. Arrange to collect heavy items from stores when you have finished all of your shopping. Keep your chequebook, and any debit or credit cards, safely out of reach and out of view.

At Home

Having bought all those wonderful presents, don’t make it easy for someone to steal from your home. Keep them out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and if you ‘hide’ or store larger items such as bicycles in the shed or outbuildings, make sure they are very secure. Now is a good time to check that you know what you have both normally (TV, Video etc) and with the extra presents you have bought. You may well find you need to check your insurance to make sure you are covered for the value of goods in your home. Take the frame numbers of new cycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment for future reference. Remember, empty boxes left outside advertise that you have new goods inside – dispose of packing carefully.

If you go out for the eveningmake it look like someone is at home by turning on lights and the radio. Don’t leave curtains open so people can see your decorations as potential thieves can see in. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows. As a fire precaution, don’t leave Christmas lights on in the house whilst you are out.

If you go away for the holiday period – use an automatic timer for lights and ask a trusted neighbour to watch your home. Don’t forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered and either redirect your mail through the Post Office or have your neighbour take mail into the house – unopened Christmas cards and mail are sure signs that a house is empty.

Strangers at the door – genuine delivery personnel usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it. If you are not sure but want to make a donation, ask whether these can be made in other ways, perhaps through a bank.

Out on the town

With office parties and general Christmas celebrations, pubs, restaurants and other venues are often crowded. Don’t leave bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body to make it more difficult for the pickpocket. Busy places make it easier for the sneak thief, so be alert at all times. Make prior arrangements as to how you will get home. Avoid any potential disturbances on the street. Stay with friends if you can. Avoid the temptation to take a minicab on the street, even if you are having difficulty getting a cab – it is illegal for minicabs to take passengers who have not pre-booked. Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back. Don’t drink too much – you could become a target for thieves.

For more advice on personal safety, contact your local Crime Reduction Officer, or, Colin Freeman, Essex Watch Liaison Officer, Police Station, 230, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4AP  Tel:  01279 621862 email:   ESSEX POLICE:   NON – EMERGENCY  Tel. No:  101 In an Emergency dial:  999 Website:


EPPING FOREST:  Tony Ellis               Tel:  101   Ext:  319383

BRENTWOOD:        Emma Clark          Tel:  101   Ext:  320384

HARLOW:                Graham Anthony   Tel:  101   Ext:  300383


A resident writes:

Hills resident Juliette Harvey, is recovering slowly, no doubt painfully but certainly with incredible bravery, from her horrendous experience when a car careered through the window of the Methodist church at the bottom of Traps Hill (pictured).  We give our very best wishes to gallant Juliette for her continued recovery.

Unsurprisingly Juliette was particularly moved  by the following story which she submitted for publication in our newsletter.

“Guy (Juliette’s husband) was just telling me about an incident in York Hill when a car rolled from Steeds Way just missing (a friend) and went into a hedge.  The chap knocked on one of the houses and they knew straight away why he was there.  Apparently it happens on a regular basis.

This is incredibly dangerous especially given the number of school kids going up and down York Hill.

Have you heard of this type of incident before?  I don’t know what could be done apart from raising awareness amongst residents and maybe a warning sign put up on the road for those parking to put their cars into gear.”

We are happy to publish the report as a warning to others……

A new number for the police: Dial 101

As a member of the Hills Amenity Society, I was pleased to learn that there has been a reduction in the number of dwelling burglaries as earlier this year the number of residential burglaries had increased considerably. As residents of the Hills we benefit from spectacular views, character properties and pockets of secluded forest land.  Naturally, the Hills attracts visitors both day and night and as residents we should ensure our homes are properly secured to deter those opportunist visitors whose aim is not to enjoy the uniqueness of the area.

Telephone number 101 is the new, non-emergency number, for Essex police and we are encouraged to use this if there is a concern about safety or we wish to report suspicious or antisocial behaviour. In the Hills, it is not uncommon to witness groups sitting in or standing by their parked vehicles outside our houses or in dark areas  late at night.  All reports to the non-emergency number are followed up immediately, are anonymous and are now becoming effective in reducing antisocial behaviour and unwanted litter which is normally left from those who congregate late at night.  Please continue to be vigilant and together we can help keep crime low and continue to enjoy living in the Hills.  Martin Margrie. Hills Resident.

Latest updates from Colin Freeman, Essex Watch Western, Epping Police Station, 230  High Street,  Epping,  Essex.  CM16  4AP. Direct Line:  01279 621862 Email:


You may have heard in the news recently about an allotment which has been hit by metal thieves, and where, more than eighty allotment sheds were targeted in one night.

Years ago there was honour amongst thieves, and allotments were by, and large, left alone.   We all know that honour, alongside respect, seems to have disappeared in many quarters, and replaced by anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

We all need to be more vigilant and to look out for each other, and safeguard each others property, and a good way of doing this on allotments, is to get together and form an ‘Allotment Watch.’

Securely lock away, or take home, valuable tools and equipment.   Report any suspicious persons, activities and vehicles to the Police.

If you would like more information about setting up an ‘Allotment Watch,’ contact:-

Colin Freeman, Essex Watch Western, Epping Police Station, 230  High Street,  Epping,  Essex.  CM16  4AP. Direct Line:  01279 621862 Email:


Dear all,

I have just received this message from one of our Neighbourhood Watch members:-
“WARNING” … Lock your shed and animal cages !!!…
My friend has just had 25 rabbits and guinea pigs stolen over the weekend and some were show rabbits…A lady at Ninefields Square in Waltham Abbey found 10 in a box then another 5 were found…3 had been hung from a tree dead and distorted…

PLEASE PASS THIS ON lets all be each others eyes and ears…

Words fail me!!


Colin I. Freeman MInstF. MIDPE. MITOL. RPII
Essex Watch Administrator – Western Division

Dear all,

Some of you may have already received the attached update and information about metal thefts from Neighbourhood Alert.   However, just in case you haven’t, I have attached it herewith.

I heard on the news this morning, that due to the activities of metal thieves, two Network Rail routes have been disrupted today.

The people responsible for metal thefts need to be brought to justice, and we all need to keep our eyes and ears open to this effect.  If you see or suspect that an offence is being committed, dial 999.   Non-emergency calls should be made using the 101 number.

Kind regards,

Colin I. Freeman MInstF. MIDPE. MITOL. RPII
Essex Watch Administrator – Western Division