POLICE are asking sellers and keepers of Asian gold to be vigilant after a string of burglaries along the South Coast.

Also known as Indian gold, it is exceptionally pure – usually 24 carats – and often passed down through generations of South Asian families.

It can have great cultural and sentimental value.

In recent months, there have been at least six thefts of Asian gold near Eastbourne.

Last Tuesday, £100,000 worth of jewellery was stolen in broad daylight in Kings Drive.

In July, £60,000 worth of Asian gold was taken from a property in Staveley Road while the owner and his children were attending prayers at a mosque.

Asmita Jani, 64, had her jewellery stolen from her home in Hove not long after her wedding.

She said: “The thieves keep an eye on what you are doing. They watched and waited until I was out, then stole it.

“It would be worth about £6,000 now. The price of gold has gone up, it’s about £49 a gram at the moment.

“Nowadays, lots of robberies are happening. The thieves know which house to go to, they see who’s having a wedding and watch when the family goes to buy gold. They’re always watching.

“People have to store it in lockers or in banks. They are scared to keep it in the house.

“I know of another couple of robberies in Brighton where people kept their gold in the loft. The robbers knew. They keep an eye on what you are doing.

“In South Asian families when the woman gets married her parents give their daughter lots of gold. The reason is that with the gold, she can survive through difficult times.

“It’s a matter of pride, too. You are sending precious gold to the other family.

“I was given jewellery on my wedding day. I’m from the Brahmin community. We don’t have to give a lot of gold, but my parents gave me it so that I could cash it in if there were tough times and rainy days ahead.

“Traditionally, the bride will wear a necklace, earrings and bangles on the hands. The woman will also wear a mangala sutra, the necklace the groom ties around the bride’s neck. It’s the sign of a married woman.”

On July 10, thieves broke into a property in Wannock Road, Eastbourne, and stole £2,100 of Asian gold jewellery. The next day burglars made off with more than £10,000 worth of jewellery from a house in Burton Road.

On September 5 a shop in Seaside, Eastbourne, was burgled for Asian jewellery.

The following week thieves broke into a property in Cade Street and stole a hidden cache of gold.

Police believe some of the thefts may be linked. Detective Constable Elliott Lander said: “We are working hard to investigate these crimes and bring the offenders to justice.

“We are also liaising with communities to provide crime prevention advice and support.”

Sussex Police warns those with valuables to avoid using drawers, cupboards, wardrobes, beds or lofts as hiding places.

The force also recommends bolting an insurance-rated safe to the wall or floor, and keeping the location of precious gold a secret.