Criminals targeted in festive campaign

Trouble-makers in Blyth are being targeted over Christmas in a joint operation between Northumbria Police, Northumberland County Council and Crimestoppers.

Operation Lantern aims to combat anti-social and criminal behaviour in Cowpen.

In September this year, Northumbria Police executed 14 search warrants and arrested 15 people in Cowpen who have now been charged with conspiracy to supply drugs.

The raids were carried out as a direct result of concerns raised by locals on the use and supply of drugs.

It was intelligence and information imparted to police from these residents which led to such a large scale covert operation and 15 successful convictions.

Police say Cowpen has a high percentage of private, rented properties with many landlords not providing an adequate level of tenancy care or property management.

There are significant levels of anti-social behaviour in the community with the majority of problems centred round drug and alcohol abuse.

The police are hoping Operation Lantern will send a message out to criminals and reassure residents that the force are prepared to take tough action when it comes to anti-social behaviour and drug abuse in Blyth.

Blyth Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Harris said: “We are working with Northumberland County Council and Crimestoppers on this operation, which is helping to raise the confidence levels of people living in the Cowpen area of Blyth.

“We are also providing a one-stop shop at the Keel Row shopping centre in the town to provide people with useful advice and information which will help keep them and their property safe.”

All reports of criminal behaviour in the Cowpen area reported to Crimestoppers will fall under Operation Lantern, which will run until the end March 2014.

The purpose of the scheme is to piggyback research currently underway by Northumberland County Council’s public protection service and strategic housing team to evidence the need for intervention to improve the quality of life for residents living in Cowpen.