A POLICE operation to disrupt car crime has been launched in parts of south east Northumberland.
Operation Crisp is taking place this week until Sunday and involves high visibility patrols and executions of warrants in the Ashington and Cramlington areas.
Since January the Northumberland Area Command has seen a rise in thefts from vehicles in these two towns.
Ashington has had 74 thefts from motor vehicles since January 1. The majority in South Hirst, Colliery Rows, Nursery Park, Wansbeck Manor, Wansbeck and Jubilee estates and North Seaton.
Cramlington has had 63 in the same period, but the type of break-in is starting to change from thieves targeting unlocked vehicles with items on show, to them smashing windows to get inside.
Officers in both areas have already been targeting offenders known to be involved, leading to a number of arrests.
DCI Peter Reeve said: “This activity is just one aspect of the work that’s being going on for the last couple of months identifying and arresting those responsible.
“Although Operation Crisp is a week-long push aimed at disrupting vehicle crime, this is just the first of what will be continued activity to tackle vehicle crime.”
Neighbourhood Inspector for Ashington Jackie Coleman said: “Neighbourhood officers are carrying out patrols night and day in the hotspot areas of Ashington – making sure the public know we are out and about and also that the criminals know we are out looking for them.
“It’s positive that motorists have started to lock vehicles but in order to deter thieves then they need to remove everything of value inside.”
Neighbourhood Inspector for Cramlington Dave Fitzgerald said: “Over 500 leaflets with crime prevention advice are being delivered, officers are speaking to motorists and also getting in touch with the drivers of any vehicles they come across that have been left unlocked or with valuables left on show.”
Anyone with any information contact police on 03456 043043 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.