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Operation Crooked launched to tackle serious acquisitive crime

Northamptonshire Police is launching an operation targeting criminals wanted for burglary, robbery and vehicle crime offences.

From today, Monday, March 5, Operation Crooked will see officers take action against known and wanted suspects across the county, including the release of images to help identify and locate individuals.

Op Crooked will also see increased patrols and activity in key areas including Kettering, and north-east and south-west Northampton, as well as the sharing of crime prevention advice to help people take action to reduce their risk of crime.

Superintendent Chris Hillery, who is leading the operation, said: “Op Crooked is all about being on the front foot in preventing serious acquisitive crime in Northamptonshire.

“These types of offences can cause a huge amount of harm and distress, so our work will focus on prevention from both sides, combining daily intelligence-led disruption and enforcement activity against offenders with providing simple but effective advice to help people reduce their risk of becoming a victim.

“Most offences happen as a result of insecurities, so something as simple as always locking external doors and windows is a really effective prevention tool.”

Crime prevention tips and advice will be delivered by neighbourhood policing teams and crime prevention officers, aided by partners including Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

It will also be shared online and on social media, along with live operational and arrest updates. Information will also be shared through community partnerships and key contacts.

Supt Hillery said: “I want to reassure people that as a force we are here to listen, and to offer support and help. We also want to work with you – information from within our communities is an essential tool in fighting crime, as people know who offenders are, and who know is selling stolen goods.

“To criminals, my message is equally clear – if you’re involved in any form of burglary, robbery, vehicle crime or the handling of stolen goods, you’ll be hearing from us. Your family and friends will also hear from us, and your photograph will be shared so your face is known to the community.”

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is backing Operation Crooked.

He said: “I welcome and wholeheartedly support the launch of Operation Crooked. I want to assist the Chief Constable, officers and staff from Northamptonshire Police, as well as the public, in reducing crime and targeting those few members of society who chose to engage in this type of criminal activity.

“We are looking for local people to help prevent this type of activity by making sure that they act responsibly with their property. Closing doors and windows when out is a great example of this, as this still very much remains one of the key reasons that people’s homes get burgled. I also want Northamptonshire to be a hostile place for people to operate if they commit this type of crime.

“I welcome the publication of persons committing these crimes so that the public, local Neighbourhood Watch groups and others can help make their own communities safer and report to us those that are actively committing burglaries, and assist us in locating and arresting those responsible. I want to make sure, through the Chief Constable, that the Force is relentless in doing this and disrupting those that choose to behave in this way.”

Information about crime, suspicious activity or the suspected handling of stolen goods can be reported via 101, citing Op Crooked, or online here. You can remain anonymous if you wish. Information can also be reported free and in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Follow Northamptonshire Police on Facebook and Twitter @northantspolice or search for #OpCrooked for updates.

Operation Crooked wanted appeals

1) Kyron Smye, aged 20, from Northampton, is being sought in connection with two burglaries in Northampton, in June and July 2017

2) Matthew Stuckey, aged 33, from Northampton, is being sought in connection with a burglary in Sunnyside, Northampton, in April 2017

3) Martin Doran, aged 20, from Worcestershire (Cleeve Prior), is being sought in connection with a burglary in Brackley in May 2017

4) David Lutwyche, aged 38, from Wiltshire (Swindon), is being sought in connection with a burglary in Brackley in May 2017

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of the above should call Northamptonshire Police on 101, or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.

Operation Crooked crime prevention advice

Preventing burglary

  • Look at your home as a burglar would – if you were locked out, how would you get in? This will help you identify any weak spots where you need to improve your home security
  • Keep external doors locked, even when you’re at home
  • If you open a window, always close and lock it when you leave the room or go out
  • Keep all keys out of sight and reach of letterboxes, pet flaps and downstairs doors and windows. Never keep a spare key hidden outside
  • Make your home look occupied once darkness falls by using energy-saving lights with timers
  • If you have an alarm system, use it. If you don’t, consider getting one. Having pets doesn’t mean you can’t fit an alarm. Find accredited installers at www.nsi.org.uk and www.ssaib.org
  • Mark your property so it can be identified as yours and returned if stolen and recovered. Options include traceable liquids such as SmartWater® or a UV permanent pen. Find tested and approved security products at www.securedbydesign.com or www.soldsecure.com 
  • Register your property for free at www.immobilise.com

Preventing vehicle crime

  • Before you get out of your vehicle, check nothing’s left out on seats, the dash, console, door pockets or in footwells. If you can’t remove items, lock them in the boot or a vehicle safe
  • Close all windows and wipe away suction marks left by sat nav or phone holders as these may tempt thieves to break in to see if the device is still in the car. Put phone charging leads away for the same reason
  • If your car has remote locking, always physically check the doors have locked before you leave it. Criminals nearby can use a jamming device to block the remote signal, leaving the car unlocked so they can get in once you have left
  • Where you park matters. If you park in daylight and will be leaving your car until evening or overnight, consider how the area may look in the dark – will it be lit, will it be busy or secluded? Out and about, try to use car parks with Park Mark status - www.parkmark.co.uk

Preventing personal robbery

  • Plan ahead before you go out. Know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and how you’ll get back. Let someone know where you’re going, and be prepared for a change of plan
  • Keep your purse or wallet and keys close and secure. Only take out essential items, and if you can leave valuables at home, do
  • When you’re out, always walk with confidence, and stick to well-lit, busy areas
  • Remain aware of your surroundings – don’t walk along texting, making a phone call or listening to music. As well as being distracting, this advertises your valuable to criminals
  • Trust your instincts – if you don’t feel safe then change your route, remembering to stay in well-lit and busy areas. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts
  • Be a good friend and stay safe by sticking together. Always avoid walking alone at night

Report non-emergency crime and any suspicious vehicles or activity in your area to us on 101 or online at www.northants.police.uk/webform/online-crime-reporting. In an emergency, call 999.

Find more advice on crime prevention at www.northants.police.uk/crime-prevention

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