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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Cumbria police launch dawn raids after spate of burglaries

Dawn raids were carried out across north and west Cumbria following a spate of burglaries.

Eight people were arrested in an ongoing crackdown on burglaries after they soared to 50 in the past two months alone.

Forty-five officers were involved in the raids which concentrated on Workington, Maryport and Wigton.

Police said the majority of burglaries involved opportunistic thieves who had targeted unsecured homes and outbuildings.

Detective chef inspector Mike Brown said it was the latest phase in a campaign running since June.

A man aged 55 and a 30-year-old woman, both from Workington, were arrested in the early hours of yesterday (Tuesday, as well as five men from Maryport, aged 36, 40, 35, 33 and 33, on suspicion of burglary. Another man from Workington, 26, was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs.

Earlier arrests include Mark Wilkinson, 30, from Ullswater Road, Maryport, who was arrested on June 26 and charged with possession of drugs. He is due to appear at Carlisle Crown Court on July 11.

Another man, from Workington, was arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and bailed until September.

Operation Berlingo was launched after 39 burglaries were reported in the Allerdale area in June, and 21 in May. The majority were described as ‘sneak-in’.

“It has been important for the community to see us being proactive and that we are taking this issue very seriously,” DCI Brown said.

“Before the latest phase, we had already made a number of arrests in an aim to stop criminals causing problems for our local communities.”

He said the operation should send a “strong message” that police were treating the burglaries very seriously.

“We realise how upsetting and concerning these burglaries can be for the community,” he added. “The action that we have taken today should help to reassure residents that we are tackling this problem.

“However, we appeal for their help. Eighty per cent of these burglaries have been as a result of the property being insecure because of windows left open or doors unlocked. We appeal for people to be extra vigilant.

“By working together, we can try and put a stop to these burglaries.”

DCI Brown said they had been “super cocooning” the hotspot areas by sending teams into the area to give advice to residents.

Around 200 homes were visited as part of yesterday’s operation.

David Thompson, community safety officer, said: “It is not difficult or expensive to keep yourself safe and secure.

“By using the security you already have, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim. It is easy and simple – just lock your doors and windows.

“If we create an opportunity for a criminal, then they will take it. Don’t give them the chance.”

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