Connells Group is warning the estate agency community to be vigilant following a number of recent, branch-based, incidents across its network.
Individuals have entered the premises, disrespected the social distancing rules and proceeded to steal personal property from the desks of staff, who had attempted to maintain distance.
Whilst its believed these incidences are rare, Connells Group has informed the applicable local police forces and provided guidance and support to colleagues across its branch network to stay safe and take reasonable precautions to reduce their likelihood.
The attempted and actual thefts took place in Essex, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and mobile phones were stolen.
In one branch the quick thinking branch manager spotted the danger and stopped the thieves.
Both males and females were involved in at least two of the incidents.
Simon Arnes, Connells Group Estate Agency Operations Director, said:
“As we return to our branches, our focus must be on the health and safety of our colleagues and customers, which includes observing social distancing measures,”
“Regrettably, however, social distancing can also present new opportunities for criminal behaviour.
“In a small number of branch-based incidents, individuals entered the premises, disrespecting the distancing rules in what can be described as a distraction method, and in order to steal personal property.
“We thought it worth sharing with the estate agency community, particular when there is currently not the usual traffic on the high street, ahead of when other retail premises reopen and when opportunists may take advantage of estate agency branches being open.”