In the run up to Christmas, officers from Cheshire Police will be targeting burglars following a recent spate in eastern Cheshire.
Operation Prancer will see officers taking part in a series of initiatives to apprehend burglary and theft suspects, with a particular focus on those thought to be involved with recent burglaries in Wilmslow, Knutsford, Poynton and Macclesfield.
DS Stephen Joyce, leading the operation, said "This Operation will involve a number of plain clothes detectives, uniformed response officers and our colleagues on the Roads Policing Unit who will be deployed to the right areas at the right time.
"Our neighbourhood officers will also continue reassurance and high visibility patrols in key areas.
"You can help us too by reporting suspicious behaviour in your area. By working together we can make life difficult for thieves and make Cheshire a no go area for criminals."
As well as increasing patrols in the area, officers are working with their colleagues in Greater Manchester Police, Staffordshire and Derbyshire to tackle cross border crime and share information to help find those responsible for burglaries and thefts over the past several months.
John O'Driscoll, Detective Inspector for Eastern Pro-Active CID, said: "The great work done by the team over the last few months has ensured that a number of suspects have been arrested and in some cases charged – work continues relentlessly to get justice for those who have found themselves victims of burglary or theft.
"Burglaries are an upsetting crime to deal with at any time of the year, but even more so at Christmas. By putting extra resources into tackling burglaries, we will be able to build on the work of our ongoing Operation Bavaria, which is our response to car and key burglaries in the area.
"While we continue to crackdown on those who commit theft and burglary, we would also urge you to stay vigilant and use our advice and guidance to help prevent burglary in your neighbourhood."
Police have provided some prevention tips:
• Windows and Doors – make sure all windows and doors are not only shut at night or when you're not at home but also locked. Don't leave valuable items or car keys on display. They just may well catch the attention of someone passing by. Fit mortice locks or bolts to all outside doors and gates and locks to all downstairs or easily accessible windows. Lock them even when you're at home – opportunist thieves will often just try doors in the hope they have been left open. Consider anti-snap lock barrels as we are seeing an increase in lock attack type offences.
• Alarms – Have an approved alarm system installed – ask your insurance company for advice. Always remember to activate it when you go out. Consider a CCTV system or video doorbell.
• Security Lights Internal and External – Fit an approved, motion sensor security light – this not only serves as a safety device for you but also as a deterrent to any potential burglars approaching the house. When you're not at home use automatic timer switches to turn on your lights when it goes dark to make it look like someone is in.
• Front Door and Letterbox – Consider chains, especially if you have no front door viewer. Use letterbox restrictors and don't leave car keys in sight as thieves sometimes use hook and canes in order to steal car keys.
• Driveway – Gravel driveways are noisy when you walk on them are a deterrent to thieves thinking of breaking into your house.
• Vehicles – make sure all windows, sunroofs and doors are locked when a vehicle is left unattended, even if just a few minutes. Remove valuables from vehicle completely.
• Wheelie Bins – Don't leave your recycling bins out as they can be used as a step to climb over a high wall or fence. Also, think about your Christmas packaging, is this an advert for what new appliances your home has?
• Garden, Gates and Fences – Prevent intruders getting to the back and sides of your home by installing strong fencing or gates. Check for weak spots where a thief could get into your garden, for example, a low or sagging fence, or a back gate with a weak lock. A thorny hedge along the boundary can put thieves off. However, make sure that passers-by can still see the front of your home so that a burglar can't work without being seen.
• Sheds – Put all your tools away so that they can't be used to break into your house, and lock your garage and shed with security locks or padlocks. Consider anchoring heavy and expensive items such a bike and lawn mowers to the floor to make it difficult to steal.