Leader: Crimewatch in search for clues over raids

It is nearly a month since masked men armed with a machete and baseball bat burst into two homes near Market Drayton and put their occupants through an unimaginable ordeal.

Leader: Crimewatch in search for clues over raids

It is nearly a month since masked men armed with a machete and baseball bat burst into two homes near Market Drayton and put their occupants through an unimaginable ordeal.

Despite the huge police response and the many appeals for information, the culprits remain at large and, while they do so, there has to be a real possibility that they will strike again.

Having got away with it once, they will think they can get away with it twice and, in view of their modest haul, will be looking for better luck next time they pick on some poor unfortunate victim.

Threatening violence is the signature of this gang. The threat is not an idle one. A teenage boy suffered a deep cut in one of the raids. A pregnant woman was tied to a chair in front of her young son in the other, an act of despicable cruelty. Should the next householder targeted put up resistance to defend house, home, and family, a crime which is nasty enough could take a tragic turn.

Last night these robberies were featured on BBC's Crimewatch, a show which has a good record in teasing out vital pieces of information when other methods have failed to do so. One of its advantages is that it has a national reach and, while it would be foolish to make any assumptions, there will be many who suspect that this gang is not a home-grown one, but comprises hardened crooks who travel over a wide area and view rural properties as easy pickings.

We must hope that Crimewatch does the trick and prompts somebody, somewhere, to come up with that piece in the jigsaw which brings these thugs to justice.

They must not get away with it.

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