Operation Magpie crackdown on burglars

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner - backing Operation Magpie
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner - backing Operation Magpie

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has joined Sussex Police in launching Operation Magpie - an initiative formed to tackle burglary across the county.

The first phase of Operation Magpie has begun by denying the use of roads to burglars, officers carrying out spot checks on vehicles in locations across Sussex to prevent burglary and detect crime where it has taken place.

They will be based at strategic points in what police have described as a robust and ongoing series of operations.

The teams will use technology and local intelligence reports to stop any vehicles highlighted as being driven illegally - such as those without MOT or insurance as well as those thought to be linked to burglary.

Spot checks will also be used to try to catch burglars using the roads. This is the first time this tactic has been used by Sussex Police specifically to target burglars.

The launch of the operation coincides with the start of the warmer months when there is a typically an increase in burglaries due to homes not being left secure.

In the last financial year 3,921 burglaries were committed in Sussex, compared with 3,370 in the year 2011/2012.

Although these numbers have increased in recent years, the risk of becoming a burglary victim in Sussex is still very low when compared to other areas around the UK with five burglaries taking place per 1,000 households.

In one in five cases, burglars don’t have to use force to get into people’s homes, instead using an open window or unlocked door to gain entry.

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas said: “Burglars use the roads every day to drive to and from their crimes.

“This is a robust and ongoing operation which will prevent burglaries from occurring and bring to our attention criminals who think they can use our roads to commit crime.

“We are focusing our efforts on denying the use of our roads to criminals.

“In the coming months you can expect to hear more about Operation Magpie as we appeal to people to join us in our campaign by reporting suspicious behaviour and taking every possible step to keep their homes secure.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The increase in burglaries was a consistent theme highlighted during numerous meetings I had with residents across Sussex so I raised this at my regular accountability meetings with the Chief Constable.

“I am now confident that Sussex Police is proactively tackling this issue and that good progress is being made.

“Operation Magpie will directly target those who travel into Sussex and those within the county who commit burglary.

“Among the other strands of the operation is a crackdown on those handling and selling stolen goods and further operations are planned over the coming months.

“The public also has a key part to play in ensuring Sussex is a ‘no-go area’ for burglars and I urge all residents to follow crime prevention advice and ensure their homes are not a target for burglars.

“The message we are sending out is clear - we will not tolerate burglary in Sussex.”For more advice visit www.sussex.police.uk/operationmagpie.