On the Beat column – Operation reunites property with owners

A specialist police team has been investigating break-ins in Midlothian
A specialist police team has been investigating break-ins in Midlothian

My columns throughout last year often spoke of the problem of theft from houses, sheds and garages throughout Midlothian and the impact this has on the victims, writes Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson.

As a result of this ongoing issue, a dedicated operation was set up in early December to investigate these crimes, identify patterns and those involved and to gain an understanding of where the stolen property was being disposed of.

These officers ensured each theft report was thoroughly researched and investigated using all appropriate techniques available. They also worked in plain clothes to actively disrupt those identified as being involved in crimes across the local area and as the operation continued, it was established they were involved in similar offences across the Lothians and the Scottish Borders.

During the course of this initiative 18 people were reported to the Procurator Fiscal for over 50 crimes linked to break-ins and other linked offences. Nine were arrested on a variety of court warrants, and those subject of court-imposed curfews were visited to ensure they were complying with the conditions. There was also in excess of 30 items of stolen property recovered and the majority of these were reunited with the original owners.

Some of these people were identified through information and calls received from the public.

I would therefore urge anybody who sees any suspicious activity or are offered a “too good to miss” opportunity to buy a bargain bike, power tools or similar, to consider where it may have come from and to call police on 101.

If you have any information you would rather pass confidentially and anonymously the charity Crimestoppers can be contacted on their freephone number 0800 555 111 or through their online form which can be found at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Advice on all aspects of protecting your property can be found on the Midlothian Council webpage where our joint campaign, Lockdown Crime in Midlothian, has details of easy and practical steps you can take to stop you being a victim of crime.