16 more arrests in Christmas crime crackdown
To date, 81 people have now been arrested as part of Operation Sleigh, a Northumbria Police campaign targeting suspected burglars across South Tyneside and Sunderland in the run-up to the festive season.
The 12-day blitz was launched on December 1 and has seen officers from the force hand-delivering Christmas cards to the homes of known criminals - warning them, officers have them in their sights.
The cards aim to remind burglars that they ‘won’t get away with it’.
They also highlight the fact that the least a criminal can expect to receive from police if they are tempted to commit crime, is being arrested, time in a police cell, stringent bail conditions and a court case to follow.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Gosling said: "Since December 1 we have been running Operation Sleigh – a 12 day campaign disrupting the criminal behaviour of those suspected of being involved in burglary in the run up to Christmas.
"But, it is not just in the run up to Christmas that we target burglars, burglary is a priority for us in the area command and we carry out work throughout the year to make sure burglars are put behind bars.
"Those who do spoil other people’s Christmas by committing burglary can expect to have their own Christmas spoiled by Northumbria Police.
"Generally, people’s perception of burglary in the run up to Christmas is that it rises.
"We wanted to run this operation to reassure the public burglary is still one of our key priorities and the chances of becoming a victim of a burglary is low."
Police also say registering valuable Christmas gifts with the property register database Immobilise can help catch burglars.
DCI Gosling added: "Our proactive work at targeting burglars and those handling stolen goods means we often seize items we suspect have been stolen, but often cannot prove this.
"By registering valuable items on property register database if we do seize it we can check it on the database and find out who it belongs to – and catch those in the act of handling stolen goods which can ultimately lead us to a burglar."
Residents are being asked to help police combat the burglars by ensuring doors and windows are locked and presents are not left in view of people passing through house windows.
Visit www.immobilise.com to register valuable and sentimental items.