THREE houses in Burnley were ransacked by thieves police believe were looking to steal Asian jewellery.

The homes in Casterton Avenue, Colne Road and Reedley Drive, were broken into from the rear of the addresses between noon and 6pm on Wednesday.

The offenders, believed to be a group of white males, left iPads and other expensive goods while overturning the homes.

Det Insp Vinny DeCurtis, of Burnley Police, said he has stepped up patrols of the area to disrupt and prevent further burglaries.

He said: “There is a possibility that criminals might be coming from Manchester or West Yorkshire to target properties in this area.

“Often, jewellery has been given as a gift and means a lot to people, so it can be very upsetting if it’s stolen.

“I would urge people not to keep things of high value in their houses.”

It comes after more than £10,000 of family gold was stolen by three masked men who held two sisters, aged 12 and 13, at knifepoint at their home in Rossendale Road on February 3.

The Lancashire Telegraph revealed how Anisha and Ayesha Ali were home alone when the intruders broke in through a window at the property and forced the girls to lead them to the valuables.

Dad Ibby, 38, who owns the award-winning Usha restaurant, on the opposite side of the road, said his girls were left badly shaken by the raid.

On January 22, thieves raided magistrate Abid Sharif’s home, stole property and caused £9,500 of damage when they ransacked his home in Ivan Street, Queensgate.

The father-of-three said he believed the offenders were targeting his home for gold.

Images of Asian heritage gold thought to have been stolen from homes in East Lancashire were released by police this week in an bid to reunite the pieces with their owners.

The items, which are worth thousands of pounds, were found at a jewellers in Blackpool after a man tried to sell them.

Det Insp Eric Halford, from Lancashire police’s target team, said: “Usually it is custom and tradition when a son or daughter gets married to give gold, although it is different in everybody’s family.

“In some cases, the jewellery has been passed down from generation to generation and it would be very high carat gold.”