AN operation in Thurrock to target burglary suspects has resulted in an 18 per cent drop in house breaks in the district.
Detectives and uniformed officers, together with PCSOs, have been paying attention to the activities of a small number of crooks believed to be responsible for the majority of the burglaries that have happened.
Detective Sergeant Jim Adams said: "Between April and December we have had 107 fewer victims of house break-ins compared to the average for the same time over the last five years.
"We have taken the view that the majority of these offences are carried out by a relatively small group of people.
"We have actively targeted this group in an attempt to either catch or disrupt them. In total we have arrested 71 suspects for dwelling burglaries in Thurrock since the start of April.
"Many of the investigations are still on-going but 25 of those arrested have now been charged, many of them with multiple burglaries. These include a 17-year-old man who admitted 20 break-ins and a 40-year-old man who faces eight counts of burglary and attempted burglary.
"The end result of this has been that a significant proportion of our most active burglars have been convicted and locked up.
"I am convinced that this approach and the hard work of local officers and PCSOs have had a substantial impact in reducing the number of break-ins in the area.
"We will continue to go after those we believe are responsible for burglaries in Thurrock and hope to reduce the numbers even further.”
As well as targeting known burglars in Thurrock, officers have also been using tactics developed under Operation Insight.
Intelligence is used to identify where future burglaries are most likely to occur and police then use a range of options to prevent them from happening.
These include patrols in higher risk areas and visiting householders in close proximity to burgled houses to offer advice and reassurance.