Residents battle against burglars

FURIOUS residents on an estate that has seen a rise in burglaries are taking a stand against the criminals targeting their homes.

Householders in the Oakerside Park area of Peterlee are angry after a spate of break-ins in their neighbourhood over the past month.

Police figures show that so far this month, five houses were burgled and six sheds or garages in the area were broken in to.

Last month seven homes on Oakerside were targeted along with five sheds, garages or outhouses.

This compares to last August when there were three shed burglaries and no houses broken in to.

But residents in the neighourhood including Balmoral Drive and Barnard Wynd are refusing to let the raiders win and are taking action.

Peterlee Police has enlisted the help of residents to combat the crimes and six Neighbourhood Watch schemes have been set up in the past few weeks in a bid to ease their plight.

Officers are thanking the public for helping the fight against crime, after information passed on to them through Neighbourhood Watch resulted in an arrest.

A 38-year-old from Wheatley Hill has since been charged with four burglaries and was due to appear at Durham Crown Court today.

Detective Sergeant Claire-Louise Wells, of Peterlee CID, said: “It shows that community involvement is working.”

Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Police, added: “The community is instrumental in helping us not only solve crimes that occur but also by preventing them.

“They can do this by ensuring their premises are locked and secure and that they report any suspicious sightings to the police before offences are committed.”

Police community safety officers (PCSOs) Sarah Willis and Dave Dove have been leaflet-dropping in the area and recruiting Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and members.

PCSO Willis is available to give crime prevention advice and offer re-assurance, or advice on joining Neighbourhood Watch, on (0191) 3752617.