Police pioneer new ‘bait garages’ scheme to catch thieves

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A NEW way of catching opportunistic thieves in the act is being piloted by Eastbourne police.

Three people have now been arrested after falling foul of bait garages set up in crime hot spot areas across Eastbourne.

The vacant garages are being offered to the police by local social housing providers.

Detective Inspector Paul Phelps from Eastbourne CID said, “This is the first time ‘bait’ garages have been used by the force and apart from confronting criminals with hard evidence they are neither expensive nor labour intensive.

“The filming equipment used is in-house and it only takes about two hours to rig a garage, but then that’s it.

“As soon as someone enters the garage a mobile phone text is sent to the officers to notify them of an intruder.

“Images from the cameras are downloaded, the suspect identified and then arrested.

“The overall aim is to reassure the local community that Sussex Police care about the effect that opportunistic thieves have on people’s lives.

“We are taking the fight to the criminals to reduce this type of crime and instill fear in potential perpetrators.

“And by doing this, we aim to reassure the local community.”

Two teenage boys were arrested on suspicion of burglary hours after stealing a motorcycle from a ‘bait’ garage in Kingston Road in March.

The 15-year-old received a caution and the 17-year-old received a 12-month rehabilitation order, which involves 40 hours of unpaid work, and was also ordered to pay an £85 fine.

A 29-year-old man has also been arrested on suspicion of stealing a Bosch cordless drill from a garage in Timberley Road.

DI Phelps said, “The message from Eastbourne CID to either thieves or handlers of stolen goods is simple – if you take it, it could be ours and we will catch you.”