POLICE are taking action after an unusual spate of crime in villages.
Thieves are said to be targeting properties on the edge of Hartlepool in rural areas such as Elwick, Dalton Piercy and Hart Village.
Sheds and garages have been hit, and while many of those responsible have been caught, police are determined to wipe out the new trend completely.
PC Steve Davies, a crime prevention officer, is helping to arrange an advice session for all village residents next week to help people protect their property.
He said: “We have seen a recent increase in criminal activity in the outlying villages of Hartlepool.
“Sheds, garages and outhouses have been targeted, and while arrests have been made in connection with these offences, we want to try and stop the crimes happening in the first place.
“We don’t usually see this kind of activity in places such as Elwick and Hart Village as crime tends to be focused in the centre of town.
“We will be giving out crime prevention advice and security gadgets will be available at discounted prices through the Safer Hartlepool Partnership.”
Hartlepool Police launched Operation Duracell last month that sees plain-clothed officers on patrol in hotspot areas across the town.
Their main aim is to cut the theft of metals, such as lead from houses, but are also keeping an eye out for anything else suspicious.
That is said to have led to a dip in crime in the town, but officers want to make sure that does not lead to a rise elsewhere.
PC Davies will be joined by PC Keith Robinson, PCSO Cath Jones and crime prevention advisor Colin Hopkins at an advice session from 3pm-4.30pm on Wednesday, November 9.
The free event is being held in the Women’s Institute Hall, in The Green, Elwick.
Mr Hopkins said: “This is the first time we have held an event like this in the villages.
“There has been a number of incidents and we are all determined to get messages out that will help put an end to them.
“All village residents around Hartlepool are welcome to come along and find out more.”