EAGLE-EYED police officers have warned criminals they will be making their lives “uncomfortable” as they launch a new operation to drive down burglaries.
Covert cops will be patrolling Hartlepool at night in jeans and hoodies during the plain-clothes campaign to catch criminals targeting houses red handed.
Police chiefs say their latest operation will keep a beady eye on the repeat offenders who are responsible for the majority of the town’s crime and make their lives “even more uncomfortable”.
Officers say they will stop anyone who looks suspicious and they will also be making sure that known criminals are at home and not on the streets committing offences.
They will be on foot, on bicycles and in cars during the next six months as part of Operation Eagle.
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And the officers have already had success, making nine arrests during the first night of the initiative.
Other recent operations have seen police following known criminals around day and night and patrolling scrapyards to stop metal thieves cashing in, while efforts have also been made to make properties more secure.
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green, of Hartlepool Police, said the number of burglaries in town dropped to just 19 last month - the lowest on record - and there has been a 15 per cent reduction in the last year.
But despite the town having the highest reduction in house burglaries in the country, he says one of the crimes is one too many as it has a massive impact of victims.
Det Chf Insp Green told the Mail: “House burglary is often a very invasive type of crime and the effects on victims can be acute in many cases. It is for this reason that we concentrate so much of our resources in targeting known burglars.
“We are also focusing on unscrupulous second-hand dealers, those who we suspect of handling the stolen goods from burglaries.
“Many burglaries, and other types of crime, are obviously committed overnight.
“To combat this we are targeting repeat offenders and patrolling high-crime areas with Operation Eagle.”
As well as plain clothed officers, uniformed police in marked cars will also be on patrol.
Det Chf Insp Green said they will not just be trying to prevent burglaries happening, but trying to solve the “root cause of offending” by getting people into treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
He added: “Those who continue to commit house burglary in the town will find their lives becoming even more uncomfortable in the coming months.”