Police hunt masked robbers caught prowling about street

By West Lothian Courier

Residents of a West Lothian housing estate have been left shaken after CCTV footage showed a pair of masked car robbers lurking around before stealing a car from a man's driveway.

Edinburgh Live reported that Matt Stokes, 30, awoke to find his car gone from outside his Whitburn home in the early hours of Tuesday, October 5.

Posting online he said: "Broken into last night... Car stolen.

"Not exactly sure what time but I'd guess 3/4am. Back door glass smashed and let themselves in.

"If anyone has CCTV footage of a white golf R being taken last night or suspicious people on McGregor Crescent/Coilery Lane that'd be great."

Matt's white Volkswagen Golf R was nabbed from the front of his home at approximately 3.10am, after he awoke to some noise outside.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Matt said: "I'd gone to bed at midnight and woke during the night after hearing a noise.

"We have two young cats who tend to make noise at night so I'd gone back to sleep as it sounded like nothing more than a picture frame being knocked over.

"We [Matt and his girlfriend Chloe] woke up at 06.30 and quickly found that our back door glass has been smashed, and my car keys and car stolen along with a purse and a wallet.

"The police were called and they turned up about 07.30 and spent the rest of the morning knocking on doors, taking forensic evidence and searching local towns and villages.

"Multiple neighbours have come forward with footage of a pair of masked men walking around the heartlands development around 3am, trying car and house doors. "

In the footage sent in by Craig Merritt of the same estate, two figures can be seen walking around the estate and trying car doors, keeping their faces covered at all times.

Not long after this video was captured by a security system, the two unknown thieves broke into Matt's home and stole his car.

Matt believes the reasoning behind his car being stolen is a factor of two things: where his house is situated, and the value of his vehicle.

He continued: "Unfortunately as my house was on a bend it's not covered by any neighbours cameras, which might be another reason for choosing it.

"It's a high spec/performance car, which is probably why it was chosen - VW Golf R, It's white with black roof, wing mirrors and wind deflectors, and may now be on false plates, but the original plate was VU69 FKX."

The police are also investigating this incident, and Matt has been told they have a lead onto where his car is headed.

Matt said: "The police said they have footage of my car leaving the development in a convoy with another car but i don't have this to hand although I've requested it.

"I have clips others have sent me of them walking around the estate - they seemed to arrive in a grey focus ST."

On the response of the community, Matt is overwhelmed with the support he has received from surrounding neighbours, who all want to help catch the perpetrators.

Matt added: "It's something I've been aware of but through luck it's always seemed like it's never happened to anyone I've known personally.

"But now that it's happened to me I've been really impressed with how the local community has responded, the first post I put up was filled with cctv from residents, and a post later on with photos of the car had more than a thousand shares in the space of 12 hours.

"I've been bombarded with messages suggesting places to look, some of which have been followed up by the police although so far it just seems to be similar cars."

Back in August 2021, police appealed for information after there were a spate of car thefts in the area of Linlithgow, West Lothian, and appealed once more on October 3 as more vehicles were stolen in the same town.

And back in July, residents in Bathgate were left terrified after a masked gang of robbers broke into a property in Bathgate and stole the occupants Audi S1 vehicle.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Officers are investigating after a white Volkswagen Golf R was stolen following a housebreaking in Whitburn on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021.

"Around 3.10 am, a house in McGregor Crescent, Whitburn, was broken in to and the keys to the Volkswagen Golf R were taken and used to steal the car.

Any information can be passed to officers at Livingston Police Station via 101. Please quote reference number 0409 of Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 when calling. Details can also be passed in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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