Police officers have urged people in north-west London to protect family gold, as they continue to tackle organised crime in the region.

Detective Constable Zara Baker gave a presentation on crime prevention at Harrow Civic Centre last week where she outlined the threat posed to properties with significant quantities of gold.

She explained that almost a third of burglaries in the region involve Asian families and, in around 50 per cent of cases, jewellery is stolen.

In the last year, she noted, more than £50 million worth of gold has been taken across London.

Police advise that people secure their homes as much as possible and consider investing in CCTV, alarms and additional lighting.

They also suggest that valuable items are stored at pawnbrokers and, if people do choose to use a safe, that it is strongly secured to the floor or wall.

And to give officers the best chance of retrieving any stolen items, they urge owners to make use of SmartWater property-marking kits and take clear photos of jewellery.

Speaking following a burglary in October, around the time of important Hindu festivals, Detective Constable Lisa Keely said: “Gold will continue to be highly desired by criminals due to the speed and anonymity with which it can be exchanged for large sums of cash.

“These pieces of gold and jewellery are not just valuable possessions, they are also of great sentimental value, and if stolen, would have a huge impact on owners.

“Our proactive measures to tackle these crimes has seen reductions in offences, however there is more to be done.

“As part of this work, we urge Londoners to take action to safeguard their gold and jewellery by following our simple crime prevention advice.”

DC Baker added that gold burglaries are frequently pre-planned, carried out in groups and involve evasive action on behalf of the perpetrators.

She explained that the Met is “working hard to find and stop” these criminals and will endeavour to “secure convictions”.