Full News Release

Operation Sleigh brings 'St Nicked' to town

Dated: 01 Dec 2017 08:39 AM

St Nicked [View Full Size]

Sleigh bells will be ringing out loud and clear for burglars this Christmas as ‘St Nicked’ comes to town.

Today (Friday, December 1) Northumbria Police is launching Operation Sleigh - a concerted crackdown on burglars and acquisitive crime in the run-up to Christmas.

Across the Force police will be targeting suspected burglars and those suspected of burglary and acquisitive crime – such as theft offences.

Launching the campaign Superintendent Paul Milner said: “We know burglary has a huge impact on our communities and it is important they know it is a priority for us and we are determined to disrupt and restrict the criminal behaviour of those we suspect are involved. I want people to have confidence in policing, knowing we are proactively tacking criminality in their area.”

Our officers will be paying those suspected to be involved in burglary and acquisitive crime a personal visit – and, with plenty of room in the cells, they will not hesitate to make arrests and bring suspects into custody.

And for those not receiving a face to face visit from the ‘St Nicked’ team, in the spirit of Christmas officers will be hand delivering Christmas cards – however rather than a festive greeting they will be told what they can expect from police this festive season.

As well as targeting suspected offenders police will be working with second-hand shops to help identify suspected stolen goods offered to them for sale.

About the activity in Sunderland and South Tyneside, Supt Milner added: “Every day for the next 12 days there will be a dedicated team targeting suspected burglars across Sunderland and South Tyneside. The team will be gathering intelligence, making arrests and looking to secure charges.

“My message is simple: if we suspect you of being involved in burglary or acquisitive crime we will be targeting you in the run-up to Christmas.”

As part of Operation Sleigh police are also reminding residents of crime prevention advice.
Supt Milner said: “I want to remind people to make sure they don’t make it easy for burglars and thieves. If you’re going Christmas shopping, don’t leave bags of shopping on the back seat of an empty car, put them in the boot out of view and be mindful if you’re leaving presents under the tree that it is not in clear view from outside the house.”

Officers across Newcastle and Gateshead will also be supporting the campaign.

Chief inspector Paul Knox, of Central Area Command, said: “In Newcastle and Gateshead we have been running Op Twilight for a month now and that activity will run hand in hand with Op Sleigh.

“With these darker, colder winter nights the crime patterns we see begin to change and burglary is a big part of that as opportunist thieves look to sneak into insecure houses under the cover of darkness.

“The crime prevention work we have been doing as part of Op Twilight will continue but with the launch of Op Sleigh we now have new tools to bring in a more targeted approach when it comes to enforcement.

“We will be targeting prolific burglars through high visible patrols and making life as difficult as possible for them this Christmas. Our priority is to stop them ruining the festive period for families across our region and put offenders behind bars.”

In North Tyneside and Northumberland officers will also be stepping up their work to prevent burglaries.

From Northern Area Command, Superintendent Andy Huddleston, said: “Its nearly Christmas and we are stepping up work with our communities to prevent burglaries and target those who seek to steal and ruin other’s celebrations. Please help by taking crime prevention steps and reporting suspicious behaviour.”