In my January column I spoke of an ongoing Operation we were running in connection to a recent increase in the instances of break-ins to houses, sheds and garages across the Midlothian area, writes Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson.
This initiative, named Operation Bistra, involved the use of a wide range of specialist police resources and a group of dedicated officers who investigated crimes of this type. They also used intelligence received from various sources including members of the public and analysed the crimes to identify patterns and offenders.
This allowed us to target individuals and groups we believed were involved and as a result since December last year there have been 18 arrests, almost 130 crimes solved and property valued at over £35,000 recovered. Some of the offenders reported are now subject to curfews and other limitations on their movement imposed by the court and local officers are proactively enforcing these with unannounced visits.
A disturbing aspect of some recent incidents is the ages of those involved. Children as young as 11 have been found to be involved in these crimes and other young teenagers have been responsible for breaking into homes and being carried in stolen cars.
This is extremely worrying and also dangerous, especially when stolen vehicles make off from police and are involved in high speed pursuits. I would ask parents and guardians to ensure they know what there children are doing and where they are. The majority of these crimes happen overnight yet the children are not reported as missing to police and it is obvious some of the parents and guardians are completely unaware of their nocturnal activities.
I would also again stress the importance of individuals taking precautions to safeguard their property and would highlight the need to ensure that car keys are secured or hidden even when in the house. Readers can contact their local police station or go to www.scotland.police.uk for information.