POLICE are stepping up night-time patrols after a spate of burglaries triggered by the warmer weather.
Officers at Hartlepool Police are heading out after sunset in plain-clothes to snare crooks under the banner of Operation Eagle.
They are targeting the criminals after more than half of the 15 burglaries committed this month were at houses where windows had been left open or doors unlocked.
Police say the problem is down to the higher temperatures, and opportunist burglars have been quick to take advantage of people not securing their homes.
Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin, of Hartlepool Police, said: “There is not a huge rise by any means, but we are seeing that the majority of burglaries are taking place in insecure properties.
“From our perspective, we are enjoying nicer, warmer weather. But we must re-emphasise that warm weather brings about complacency and we see people forgetting to close windows or leaving them on the latch, which provides criminals with opportunities.
“You also need to make sure you that your car is locked. Double-check each time and make sure it is secure.”
Temp Chf Insp Rukin said officers are out on the streets every night to catch burglars.
He added: “Anyone out on a night can expect to be stopped and asked where they are going.
“Anyone without a good explanation faces the very real prospect of being arrested. However, genuine law-abiding members of the public should not be worried as they will be allowed to go on their way.”
PC Steve Davies, a crime prevention officer for Hartlepool Police, is offering advice to residents on how they can make sure their home is safe.
He said: “I would urge residents to remain vigilant during this warmer weather and ensure that their home is secure with windows and doors locked.
“It only takes seconds for someone to enter an unlocked door or climb through an open window. These crimes can be prevented by ensuring your home is secure and not giving easy targets for opportunists thieves.”
For more advice, contact PC Davies on (01642) 302579.