A day of action

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POLICE in Peterlee launched a day of action to combat metal theft and associated crime.

Officers from Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team raided four homes in Wheatley Hill as part of the metal thefts operation.

Cannabis was recovered at two of the properties and verbal warnings were given to two men.

Police also spoke to a number of residents to reassure them about the work being done to clamp down on scrap thieves.

Inspector David Coxon, of Peterlee Police, said: “As well as a force-wide priority, metal theft is obviously a big local problem for us.”

Also as part of Wednesday’s operation, officers from Peterlee, along with colleagues from Seaham and Durham Police Stations, visited businesses on the North West and North East Industrial Estates in Peterlee.

Twenty-four firms have shown an interest in signing up to the Business Watch Scheme, which aims to reduce opportunities for metal thieves.

Insp Coxon added: “We want to work in partnership with local businesses to reduce the opportunity for thieves to target their premises.

“We have already got a number of members signed up, but we had 24 expressions of interest in signing up.

“We hope to promote crime prevention and get people together as a group to combat metal theft and maybe joint investment in security measures.”

Brett Johnson, owner of the Fitness Factory health club on the North West Industrial Estate, who is a member of Business Watch, said: “A lot of the buildings down here have been getting broken into so a scheme like this that aims to cut that down is definitely an improvement.”

Businesses on the industrial estates are urged to log on to an online forum on Tuesday, October 4, at http://peterleenpt.coverpage.coveritlive.com

People can dip in and out of the session from 11am-3pm.