Rich pickings on New Year’s Eve – Police urge extra care

The Lancashire Telegraph has reported that police are urging residents to take extra steps in protecting their homes against New Year’s Eve burglars.

Residents are being asked to register their valuable Christmas presents online to help prevent thieves who target empty homes.

The national database is free and available to all UK police forces who use it to return lost and stolen possessions to their rightful owners.

Almost any item with a serial number recovered by police can be returned to the owner if registered on the database.

Users can also add photographs and certificates of ownership to their Immobilise account and once registered, can update their account with new possessions and take off items they no longer own Bury’s crime reduction advisor, Gaynor Mason, said:

Burglars expect people to be more relaxed and less cautious during the holiday season and take advantage of homes being unoccupied as people see in the new year with friends and family.

Residents can play their part by following the advice given to make sure they do not play host to any unwelcome visitors at this time of year.

Advice includes: shutting and locking all doors and windows; switching on burglar alarms; and using lights, radios and timer switches which can make homes look occupied while people are out celebrating.

Also keep valuables out of sight and dispose of boxes that contained valuables by taking them to the tip.

Those who are going away over the holidays are advised to ask a trusted neighbour to open and draw curtains, park their car on your drive and keep an eye on your home.

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Bath MP add his support to the Immobilise Property Register

Adding to the great support that the Immobilise Property Register receives though out the country, Bath MP Don Foster is calling on the local police to back the website.

Immobilise is the world’s largest free register of possession ownership details and together with its sister sites the Police’s NMPR ( and CheckMEND (, forms a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners.

In Bristol the Avon and Somerset Police have held a stall for those who are unable to use the website itself, allowing residents to register their goods. All items with some form of identification, for instance a part number or serial number, can be registered on the website.

According to his website ( Don Foster has asked Bath police to consider holding a street stall in early January to enable Christmas gifts to be registered.

Don Foster said;

When I heard about this website I immediately thought about bike post coding. It is great if stolen property can be re-united with the owner, and by registering your goods at you increase the chances of having goods returned to you.

I hope our local police will help to promote this scheme and also consider holding a street stall for those not able to sign up on-line.

Christmas crackdown on crooks (Eastbourne)

The Eastbourne Herald has reported that criminals who target shoppers in the run up to Christmas will be targeted as part of a new crackdown.

Eastbourne Police, Eastbourne Business Crime Group and the town’s Crime Reduction Partnership are joining forces to warn residents about thieves in the town centre. Trish Pybous, Eastbourne Business Crime Group manager, said;

People in the town are very busy with their Christmas shopping.

However, there are undoubtedly a number of opportunistic thieves using this as a perfect way to commit crime and get away unnoticed. Local businesses are working closely with Sussex Police and warn shoppers to zip up handbags and pay a little more attention to security in the run up to Christmas in the Town Centre.

Eastbourne Neighbourhood Police Inspector Rachel Barrow said;

We are making Eastbourne safer in denying criminals the opportunity to profit over the Christmas period by ensuring we have more officers on patrol and enhancing our town centre patrols under the umbrella of Operation Reindeer. Please be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour straightaway by dialling 999 and asking for the police or by reporting in person to any of the police patrols.

Should anyone wish to take advantage of the facility to register their property, officers will be available in the Arndale Centre to help and guide members of the public through the process on December 19. is a website where anyone can create their own personal and secure account, and register their mobile phone or any other property free of charge. Anyone who can offer information about people committing crime in our town can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the Sussex Police non-emergency call centre on 0845 60 70 999. If a crime is in progress, always dial 999.

To read the source article in full please go to:

Immobilise helps police reunite 250 items of recovered property with their owners

Property Marking EventPolice in Avon and Somerset yesterday (Thursday December 17) held their latest “Relentless” day, focussing on the prevention of theft and burglary.

There have been 26 Operation Relentless “days of action” since its launch in June 2005, which has resulted in more than 2150 arrests.

“Operation Relentless on Property” has targeted thieves and those who handle stolen goods in addition to highlighting crime prevention initiatives to the public to foil burglars and other criminals.

As part of the day of action, police and partner agencies engaged in a range of activities across Somerset. A warrant was carried out in the Taunton area leading to the arrest of a man for handling stolen goods. Vulnerable Vehicle Checks were carried out across the area, inspecting vehicles and identifying those with items of value left on display. The owners of the cars have been sent a letter reminding them to keep items such as phones, MP3s and Satellite Navigation Systems out of sight.

Officers also visited several second hand goods retailers with Trading Standards to ensure that they were complying with regulations and not trading in stolen items. Six arrests were made during the course of the morning. Five men were arrested for theft and another man was arrested for handling stolen goods. Four have been given bail pending further enquiries.

Officers from the district’s CID department also managed to reunite 250 items of detained property with their rightful owners this week.

Detective Inspector Alan West said:

When police receive items of property that have been recovered from thefts and burglaries, officers try to trace the owners of the items to return their possessions to them. If electrical items are registered on Immobilise and other items such as jewellery or antiques are property marked with the owners address or postcode, this process can be straightforward.

However, unmarked or unregistered items can languish in the Detained Property Department unclaimed for long periods and some items can never be linked to an owner. I would really encourage the public to either register their items on Immobilise or mark them with a UV pen or other property marking device so we can return them to you if the worst were to happen. Marking your items can also sometimes act as a deterrent to would be criminals.

Neighbourhood officers and PCSOs were also in Taunton town centre this morning registering people’s property, such as mobile phones, cameras and mp3 players, on the Immobilise website and carrying out bike and property marking. The Deputy Chief Constable, Rob Beckley, joined them in giving festive advice on how to beat the burglars and assisted with a bicycle property marking session. The team will be in the town centre again on January 13 and 21 offering these services for those who had new bikes or electronic equipment for Christmas.

In Bridgwater, officers held a property marking session at Bridgwater College for the students to register mobile phones and laptops on the Immobilise website and officers from Burnham-on-Sea visited King Alfred School in Highbridge and Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar to take property marking kits to mark and record mobile phones and MP3 players. Other property marking sessions also took place in Wellington Square in Minehead and the Town Hall in Dulverton.

DCC Beckley said:

We really want people to have a wonderful Christmas and New Year but we ask them to take some sensible measures to ensure that their festive period isn’t marred by becoming a victim of opportunistic thieves. One-in-four burglaries occur after the householder failed to secure their home and the burglar entered the property via an open door or window!

I encourage people to think about how their house looks when they go out – don’t make it obvious that there is nobody home, leave a light on and the radio playing and most importantly – make sure you lock all doors and windows, even if you are only popping out for a short period of time.

Inspector Nick Greenhalgh from the Community Safety team at Taunton Police Station said people can help protect themselves from opportunistic thieves by employing these simple measures:

  • Ensure windows and doors are shut and locked when you are out
  • Lock sheds and garages
  • Don’t leave car keys left in an outside porch or within reach of letter boxes
  • Shoppers are advised not to leave presents in view on car seats. They should be taken home immediately and not left in the vehicle.
  • Christmas presents – wrapped or unwrapped – should not be left in view in the home.
  • Don’t leave boxes from new TVs or laptops on display outside your home, take them to the tip.
  • Register your property on
  • Mark your property – kits are available from your local police teams.

Further information regarding home security and crime prevention can be obtained from your local Safer Stronger Neighbourhood team. You can contact them by calling 0845 456 7000 or you can log on to our website and select the Crime Prevention heading.

To read the source article in full please go to:

South Gloucestershire Police ‘pedal’ bike security to children and encourage property registration

Top image shows PCSO Rob Hendra talking to a young man about bicycle road safetySouth Gloucestershire Police have been peddling cycle security to children in the run up to a force-wide operation encouraging people to mark their property to deter thieves.

The neighbourhood Police Community Support Officers visited Patchway Youth Club and Filton High School and helped the young people to mark their bicycles.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Steve Ives said:

Bike theft is one of the most commonly reported crimes. Bikes are worth a lot of money, so invest in a good-quality lock and use it.

Marking your bike with your postcode does deter thieves, because it means that police can prove it is stolen. You can also register it for free at, a secure property database checked by police across the country.

On Saturday December 12 2009 PCSO Rob Hendra visited Patchway Youth Club. He helped youngsters aged between nine and 13 to mark their bicycles and register them on the immobilise website.

Avon and Somerset police are encouraging people to mark their property with a day of events under Operation Relentless today (Thursday December 17 2009).

Chief Inspector Peter Warren said:

While South Gloucestershire is a safe place with low crime levels, people mustn’t be complacent about security. Most of our reported burglaries are from homes which have been left insecure.

Most thefts from cars are when property like a sat nav has been left on view, and thefts of bikes which have been left unlocked. Criminals are opportunists – let’s not give them that chance.

Officers are running bicycle marking events throughout December and January – and offering the chance to win an £150 voucher towards cycling accessories. Visit for more details. The competition closes on January 31 2010.

To read the source article in full please go to:

Beat the burglars – protect your presents!

Two uniformed PCs facing away from the camera on patrol in BroadmeadPolice in Bristol are giving Christmas shoppers the gift of burglary prevention as part of the forcewide Operation Relentless day.

Officers in the new “cop shop” at The Mall Bristol, in Broadmead, are inviting shoppers to stop by and have their Christmas purchases registered on a national property database, called Immobilise.

Keith Rundle, Neighbourhood Inspector for Cabot and Clifton, said:

At this time of year people are thinking about getting the last bit of Christmas shopping done and all other things festive. But if someone was to break into your home and steal all those presents Christmas would be ruined and you would be very out of pocket.

Items that can be traced and identified are harder to sell and far less attractive to thieves, so registering on Immobilise can be a deterrent, and if the worst did happen it may help us to reunite property with its rightful owner – if recovered.

We want people to take steps to stop themselves becoming victims of burglary. Visiting our officers in The Mall Bristol or at Curry’s in Channon’s Hill and registering on Immobilise is a good start.

There are also all sorts of additional tips and advice we can give to you on other ways to make your home, and everything in it, more secure – so come and see us.

Immobilise is easy to use and completely free. It is the only national property database that will throw up results through Avon and Somerset Police’s standard checks on recovered stolen property if the items have been registered.

It is also a deterrent to thieves because items that can be traced and identified are harder to sell and can be less attractive to thieves.

To use Immobilise anyone can visit the website and open an account and put details and serial numbers of items like laptops, cameras, mobile phones and bikes into the account.

If the items are ever stolen the account holder logs on and marks them as stolen. They will then be flagged up on the national database as stolen when checked by retailers or police forces.

To read the source article please go to: Bristol Police

Cambridge: Protect your presents from Christmas thieves

The Cambs 24 website has reported that advice is being issued to Christmas shoppers in Huntingdonshire to help safeguard their presents from thieves.

Each year gifts are taken from vehicles or from under the Christmas tree in people’s homes. Chief Inspector Russell Waterston from Cambridgeshire police said:

There are often easy pickings for criminals this time of year.

People are in high spirits and are often transporting and storing lots of desirable goods.

But the same precautions should be taken at Christmas time as every other time of the year.

We don’t want to see expensive gifts disappearing from under the Christmas tree before the festivities begin.

Homeowners are being some simple advice:

  • Close the curtains once it gets dark outside, especially if the lights are on inside and not keep presents on show.
  • Presents should be removed overnight from vehicles.
  • Empty boxes, which could advertise the Christmas goodies inside the house, should not be left outside on view.
  • Once Christmas gifts are unwrapped, they can be registered for free at, which allows stolen goods to be identified and returned to the owner.

INFORMATION: Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to Cambridgeshire police on 0345 4564564.

To view the source article please go to:

Police give seasonal safety advice during community safety day

Police give seasonal safety adviceThe Wincanton neighbourhood policing team has been out delivering festive message to its residents

More than 450 homes were visited by the team who spoke to residents about what steps to take to take for a crime-free Christmas. People at home were reminded not to tempt thieves by keeping presents out of sight, making sure their house is secure and that empty houses looked occupied by leaving a television or radio on and using timer switches on lights.

The day of activity, on Wednesday 9 December, was undertaken in partnership with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service who spoke to residents about fire prevention this winter. Residents were asked to ensure smoke alarms were fitted and working, reminded not to overload power sockets and advised to check their Christmas tree lights before putting them up.

Where there was no answer at houses an advice leaflet was posted through its door.

The event was organised by Police Constable Sara Stephenson, the beat manager for Bruton. Speaking afterwards, Sara said:

Christmas is a special time for people to relax and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Becoming a victim of crime at Christmas can spoil the festive period so we have been out reminding people how to avoid being targeted this year. The message was well received by the residents we spoke to and I am confident most will act on the advice we gave.

Top tips for staying safe:

  • Lock up and set the alarm in the evening as well as when you go out
  • Seem in when you’re out by setting a timer switch to turn the lights on at dusk
  • Post code your valuables and register them for free at – it could help convict a burglar and return your property
  • Keep your keys and handbag or wallet hidden safely out of sight
  • Don’t advertise your property to thieves: hide Christmas presents and don’t put boxes out for rubbish collection, bag them first
  • Join or set up Neighbourhood Watch
  • Call police immediately if you see anything you think is suspicious
  • Make sure ladders and tools are secured otherwise a thief could use them to break into your home.

To view the source article please go to: Avon and Somerset Police Website

London Met Police See Rise in Phone Thefts at Music Gigs

Nine people have been arrested in London in the past fortnight as officers crack down on organised gangs of thieves targeting music fans carrying expensive mobile phones at crowded gigs.

Officers have recorded a rise in the number of thefts at indoor and outdoor music venues across the country.

They believe pickpockets are targeting top-end mobile phones used by many to take pictures and record acts on stage.

Investigators said surging crowds and booming music can make individuals more vulnerable to theft and help criminals escape. Members of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), based within the Metropolitan Police, have warned music venues of the trend.

Detective Superintendent Nev Nolan, who leads the unit, said:

We want all fans to enjoy their concert and to have a good experience.

We are concerned that organised thieves are targeting concerts to steal phones from genuine fans.

A lot of people like to use their mobile phones to film or take photographs of the concert, but will then return the phone to an insecure bag or pocket, where thieves are able to snatch it.

When they discover it is gone, many will simply assume it is lost and simply cancel the sim, without reporting it to the police.

A lot of people will be getting mobile phones for Christmas and we would urge them to keep them safe and to register their phones with the website

Source: The Press Association

A helping hand in burglary crackdown

PC Carrie Robertson, from Prestwich police station: Credit: This is Lanacshire
PC Carrie Robertson, from Prestwich police station: Credit: This is Lancashire

This is Lancashire has reported that Police are using the “long arm of the law” to help them tackle burglaries in Prestwich.

Officers from the Prestwich neighbourhood policing team have been posting life-size pictures of a “burglar’s” arm through letterboxes in the Polefield area to remind people to keep their homes locked and valuables out of reach. The operation was launched after a rise in the number of “hook and cane” thefts, where people fish through letterboxes with a cane to steal keys and wallets.

Detective Inspector John Mazzolai, from Bury CID, said:

These leaflets usually have quite an impact and are designed to make people stop and think about how to protect their homes.

One-third of burglaries are due to insecurities in the home so it is important residents take a few simple steps to avoid this type of crime. Please ensure that all doors and windows are kept secure, even if you are staying inside. If you are going out, use a timer with a light so it gives the impression that someone is home.

Residents can register their valuables online at to help police identify items found or recovered from suspected criminals.

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