Festive crackdown on crime across Wealden

POLICE launched a five-day crackdown on rural crime across Wealden.

Officers were out in force to deter and prevent burglary of people’s sheds, outhouses and metal thefts across the district.

A number of arrests were made and the operation was deemed a success by Wealden’s District Police Commander, Chief Inspector Dick Coates.

He said, “The operation was intended to reduce these high impact crimes and identify those people responsible.

“A number of tactics have been deployed to disrupt this activity with great success and we have seen a direct reduction in reported offences as a result.

“Both uniform and plain clothes officers were deployed along with some more high tech techniques to enable us to gather information.

“The use of bait items which can be tracked has been used with at least one item being stolen and recovered within a short time.

“Enquires are ongoing to arrest the offenders who will more than likely be responsible for other thefts in the Wealden area.

“The use of new technology is something we continue to develop and will use all means available to us to keep safe the property of the residents of Wealden. Criminals need to bear in mind that we are using these new methods.

“They will never know if the items they steal can be tracked by police.

“Criminals should bear this in mind and I would urge them to not steal in the first place or we may well be knocking on their door very quickly.”

In the second week of December, more than 26 warranted officers and 24 community support officers were out as part of the crackdown.

Inspector Tony Wakefield, who leads the neighbourhood teams, said, “I have deployed my officers from Hailsham, Uckfield, Polegate, Heathfield and Crowborough in order to create a show of strength.

“I wanted to reassure the community that we will not put up with this type of activity and that we take this crime very seriously.”

During the week it is estimated that approximately 150 vehicles were stopped and checked by either uniformed or plain clothed officers looking for evidence of these offence types and we have had some really great results.

Sgt Ryan Allitt who organised the operation, said, “The people of Wealden have reacted really well to this initiative and have been very encouraging.

“We have tried to minimise disturbance to legitimate members of our community while causing maximum disruption to the people involved in these offences.”

On Friday evening, the final day of the operation, teams from Sgt Allitt’s initiative were involved in the arrest of three men believed to be involved in the theft of metal.

A quantity of metal was recovered and enquires are on-going.