Police launch burglary crackdown in Stratford District

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A new operation tackling burglaries and theft in Stratford District was launched last week amid a spate of such incidents over recent weeks.

Operation Tempest is aimed at tackling acquisitive crime, particularly focusing on rural communities.

Such crimes include a range of burglaries, theft from vehicles, livestock theft, quad bike thefts and theft of caravans.

Over the coming weeks, residents can expect to see a heightened police presence, as officers focus on a range of activities including increased patrols and attending events across the Stratford District to raise awareness of acquisitive crime.

Earlier this month the Herald highlighted a series of break-ins at small businesses, with shops in Stratford, Wilmcote, Harbury, Bidford and Alcester all falling victim within a matter of days.

These followed similar incidents over recent weeks and a series of destructive ram raids to hit the district since November.

The incidents had prompted calls for the police to do more to crackdown on rural crime, with some residents arguing that criminals saw such communities as easy targets.

Chief Inspector David Kettle who is leading the operation, said: “Following a recent spate of commercial burglaries in rural areas of the Stratford District, we not only recognise the need for Operation Tempest but recognise the impact these crimes have had on the individuals and communities that have been affected.

“We want to reassure those rural communities that often feel isolated, that we are working hard to identify those responsible, while empowering and engaging our communities who we believe, will play an integral part in the solution in tackling acquisitive crime.

“Through Operation Tempest, we also want to send a clear message to thieves that we will be employing a range of tactics aimed at preventing acquisitive crime and catching those responsible, and we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.

“The events we will be attending over the course of the campaign offer a great opportunity for our local officers to get out into the community and speak to people, telling them about the work we’re doing while offering some expert crime prevention advice.

“It is well known that simple crime prevention measures can act as a great deterrent to criminals, and by taking some simple steps members of the public can help prevent themselves from being targeted.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe said: “I am continuing to ensure that the police have the right funding and equipment to tackle crime wherever it occurs, with extra officers helping to boost the response to the public.

“We do know however that rural towns and villages can feel particularly isolated and vulnerable, while the effects of criminal activity in these communities is keenly felt by residents and businesses alike.

“That’s why it’s vital that our police continue to evolve their tactics to tackle the changing nature of crime, targeting offenders and boosting patrols in the areas where crime is occurring.

“Operation Tempest is a good demonstration of this and I want it to really reinforce the message that rural parts of our county should not be viewed as a soft touch for criminals.”

The force will be highlighting its activities during the operation on its Facebook page and its other social media channels.

Cllr John Feilding, who has previously raised concerns about policing in rural areas of the district, said: “I certainly think this operation is a very positive step. I’m hoping we will make further progress at the Rural Policing Forum I’m in the process of organising on 4th September at which the crime commissioner Philip Seccombe will be attending.”

Nigel Rock, Liberal Democrat member for Napton and Fenny Compton, added: “I welcome this announcement by the police, myself and other councillors have certainly been putting a lot of pressure on the police over the issue of rural crime and we will have to wait and see what happens. I think that when police do have successes in rural areas that we need to shout about it, because it does serve to reassure rural communities.”