Lothian and Borders Police target thieves by writing letters


By Amada MacMillan

IN a new crackdown against break-ins police in Edinburgh are writing to known offenders warning that they will be targeted.

The number of housebreakings in the capital rose 14 per cent between last April and March to a total of 1,625, up from 1,423 the previous year.

A small number of so-called “super-burglars” are believed to be behind half of these.

The move forms part of the new theft-prevention campaign launched today (Mon) by Lothian and Borders Police.

The campaign bares the slogan “New Products, Same Advice” and is urging people to remember the basics of crime prevention measures.

Set to run until 31 October, the campaign also warns home-owners to be extra vigilant as the evenings become darker.

Inspector Paul Matthews said: “Many thefts are preventable by following the age-old advice: lock up, look out, and use an alarm.”

The campaign will also see forensic examination of homes suffering brake-ins fast-tracked in a bid to catch offenders more quickly.

And officers will carry out door-to-door visits to provide safety advice

Councillor Paul Edie, the city’s community safety leader, said: “I’m all for this approach, particularly as the police are trying to encourage crime prevention which is a long-term solution to the problem.

“I think sending letters to the homes of serial offenders could be an effective idea. If this is able to offer an extra deterrence to these offenders then it may have a positive effect.”

The force has previously sent warning letters to drunk-drivers, while Christmas cards have been sent to offenders wanted on warrants, urging them to give themselves up rather than face arrest.

Officers believe that 80 per cent of housebreakers are subsidising addictions.

The large number of common stair flats is one reason behind the number of break-ins in the city as it allows thieves to target a number of flats.