Essex Police launches new operation to stamp out distraction burglaries in Uttlesford

A NEW police operation has been launched in Uttlesford in a bid to stamp out distraction burglaries. Uttlesford neighbourhood policing teams, working with partner agencies such as Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch, succeeded in reducing distractio

A NEW police operation has been launched in Uttlesford in a bid to stamp out distraction burglaries.

Uttlesford neighbourhood policing teams, working with partner agencies such as Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch, succeeded in reducing distraction burglaries by 41 per cent in 2008, as compared with 2007.

From January 1 to July 31, 2009, the reduction was even greater. In the first seven months of the year, there was just one distraction burglary in Uttlesford, compared with 11 in the corresponding period in 2008.

However, with the launch of Operation Spice, police hope to make it even harder for distraction burglars to commit their sickening crime.


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Sgt Lindsay Beckman said: "We've achieved excellent results in reducing the numbers of distraction burglaries in the district, but we're not complacent.

"We know our techniques work, and now we're launching Operation Spice to build on and further develop all the good work."

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Distraction burglaries occur when criminals pick on vulnerable householders and typically pretend to be from the authorities or a utility company. The intention of these bogus callers is either to trick their way into the property or to distract the resident so that an accomplice can sneak in through the back of the property. In both cases, the criminals hope to steal cash and valuables from inside.

At the heart of Operation Spice is the concept of safer doorstep areas - developed with help and funding from Uttlesford CDRP - and Neighbourhood Watch's Nominated Friend scheme. Neighbourhood policing teams will be running dedicated Operation Spice days in Newport on September 8 and in Elsenham on September 10.

If you have a vulnerable or elderly relative who would benefit from a visit e-mail SaferDoorstep@essex.pnn.police.uk or contact Saffron Walden Police Station on 0300 3334444 ext 65320.

For more information on Operation Spice and how to protect yourself or your loved ones from distraction burglars, call Uttlesford district Essex Watch administrator, Lindsay Baillie, on 0300 3334444 ext 65835.

In addition, district neighbourhood policing teams will be visiting various locations throughout 2009, offering advice on how to deal with aggressive doorstep selling, with the assistance of local Trading Standards officers.

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