First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to play their part in snaring crooks who are targeting Asian families in East Renfrewshire.

Over the past year, more than a quarter of all burglaries in East Renfrewshire have involved homes owned by Asian families, with organised gangs of criminals aiming to get their hands on high-value jewellery.

Ms Sturgeon has encouraged members of the public to help the police catch the culprits after Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions.

The SNP leader, who represents a large Asian population in her own Glasgow Southside constituency, said the spate of burglaries are “absolutely unacceptable and should be completely condemned by all of us.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “I know people personally who have been targeted in this way in recent weeks.

“These attacks are pernicious and they must be tackled.”

Mr Carlaw has held talks with police after a number of his constituents suffered at the hands of the crooks.

He said there has been a “sustained series of forensically-aware, gang-related targeted attacks on Asian households.”

The Conservative politician added: “These are serious and organised attacks on the homes of many within the Asian community who have been left feeling violated.

“Anyone who has any information that could be of use should come forward, however trivial it may seem.

“I welcome that the First Minister is raising this matter with Police Scotland for her own constituents, as only by raising its profile will people hopefully come forward with information to bring these criminals to justice.”

Many of the burglaries in East Renfrewshire have taken place at properties in affluent Newton Mearns, with almost all of them carried out in broad daylight.

Police believe the crooks operate in a highly-professional manner, getting in and out of the targeted properties in a very short space of time and leaving no worthwhile clues behind.

Inspector John McQuilter, who is based at Giffnock Police Office, said: “We would certainly echo what has been said by the First Minister and by Jackson Carlaw.

“We would encourage the public to come forward and report any suspicious activity or anything out of the ordinary on the streets.

“The public should keep their eyes and ears open for information that might be useful and can report this to police by calling 101.”