Fury over deposit-box delay

Owners of safety-deposit boxes seized in London police raids earlier this year are still waiting for their return and angry at lack of police action.

Officers raided nearly 7,000 boxes from Hampstead, Mayfair and Edgware in June, as part of Operation Rize.

Many of those taken belonged to innocent people who are still awaiting the return of their possessions. A restoration centre has been set up for the return of goods seized during the raid, but many people still feel they are being kept in the dark.

Robin Karr, whose belongings were taken from the Hampstead depository, is anxious for items of jewellery to be returned.

He said: "I have had several conversations with the police and a follow-up letter assuring me that it is their intention to return the boxes to their owners, but I am still waiting."

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue had his box returned two weeks ago, but expressed concern over how the process was handled.

"I got an email from someone I know, who was at the police station sorting out his safety-deposit box, when he overheard the police spelling out my name as someone who had a box. Safety-deposit boxes are supposed to be confidential and I could have been someone who didn't want people to know that they had a box.

"I told the police and they were apologetic. The whole situation was very unsettling and an intrusion of privacy."

    Last updated: 11:20pm, July 24 2008