Operation results in a number of arrests

A JOINT operation targeting burglars and illegal rubbish dumping has been hailed a success.

Operation Backyard ran for six weeks and saw police undertake extra patrols around yards in Wallsend to deter criminals stealing valuable property while council staff removed unsightly rubbish.

Police also carried out house searches looking for stolen property and made four arrests for house burglary and theft.

Officers stopped and searched a number of people as part of the operation.

Three further arrests were made for theft of vehicles.

Officers also focused on problem tenants in the town where refuse and unwanted items were left in the back yards of their homes.

They worked with housing providers including North Tyneside Council’s safer estates team, Home Group and private landlords.

As a partnership they spoke to tenants and issued warnings, eviction notices and court proceedings.

Joint letters were also circulated during the initiative to residents in the area encouraging them to report any anti-social behaviour.

Sergeant Matt Bruno, from Wallsend neighbourhood policing team, said: “We know that in many cases burglars see back yards and rear gardens as an easier route to get into homes, and for making their getaway.

“In many cases the back is not overlooked and that makes it less risky for the burglar to use.

“We know that many people keep valuables at the rear of their property including bikes and tools, often they’re left unlocked and in public view, which can make them attractive to opportunist thieves.

“Criminals after metal will steal these items and sell them on for their scrap value.

“Officers have been talking to residents and reminding them to be more security conscious – to lock valuables out of view and keep their doors and windows secure.

“They’ve also been asked to report any suspicious activity to the police straightaway.”

Officers also issued crime prevention advice to householders who had left valuables on view in gardens and yards.

They gave owners simple measures to keep their valuables safe.

If the resident was not at home or unavailable, officers sent a letter outlining their concerns and offering advice.

Colin Boxshall, safer estates manager for North Tyneside Council, said: “This is the latest in a series of joint operations with the police, which are aimed at ensuring neighbourhoods are safer and pleasant places to live.

“As a signatory to Respect – ASB charter for housing – the council is making a public commitment to providing a high quality anti-social behaviour service.”

Sgt Bruno added: “This targeted operation has resulted in several arrests, has disrupted criminal activity and delivered a strong message about dealing effectively with nuisance tenants.

“The crime prevention element has helped to reassure residents and remind them how they can take care of their property.”