4:00pm Tuesday 26th March 2013
By Hannah Bryan
MORE than 30 people have been arrested as part of an ongoing crackdown on known criminals.
Operation Arizona was launched by Darlington police in January after a rise in the number of thefts from vehicles over Christmas.
As part of the operation, plain-clothed police officers and police community support officers are working through the night to patrol areas of high crime to target known offenders.
More than 30 people have been arrested so far for a number of offences, including burglary, possession of a bladed article, theft and going equipped for theft, possession of drugs and cultivation of cannabis, theft from a motor vehicle, theft of cable, and shoplifting.
Bungling burglar, Lewis Ward, was also arrested as a result of the operation after officers followed the 28-year-old’s footprints in the snow from a break-in straight back to his home in Raby Street, Darlington.
The father-of-one had crept into a house in Vine Street and stole an iPad while the occupant was upstairs.
The Northern Echo has already reported how he was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months when he appeared at Darlington Magistrates’ Court on February 19.
Between January 7 and March 25, officers made 920 stop checks, compared with 417 in the same period last year and crime in Darlington fell by 16 per cent.
More than 90 detections were linked to the operation, with more than 60 relating to theft from motor vehicles.
Acting Inspector Dave Barker, of Darlington police, said: “It has been phenomenal. The reason is has been so successful is the fact that response teams have had extra officers to concentrate on getting the criminals who are still walking the streets.
“The message is we are stopping people we know to be criminals - if they are on bikes they cannot account for, we will stop them, if they have got property they have stolen or we think they are going to steal, we will arrest them.
“It shows that by putting extra officers in the town we are catching more criminals.”
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