Two-week trap being set in Leighton Buzzard for tool thieves

Leighton Buzzard will be part of short-term community clampdowns by Bedfordshire Police to target nuisance crimes across the county.

A van will be deployed in the town by the force to attract thieves who steal tools from vehicles.

Van thefts are being tackled in a two-week operation

Van thefts are being tackled in a two-week operation

The tactic was revealed by the county force at the annual report presentation of Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway at the University of Bedfordshire in Bedford.

The approach being employed to community policing is “more about intervention and prevention”, as well as “more proactivity”, according to Deputy Chief Constable Gerry Forsyth.

He described how an intervention team is being built below the existing serious crime investigation set-up and the serious organised crime unit.

“There’s also Bosun, which is a proactive team focused on tackling serious criminality generally around drugs, gangs and knife crime,” he said. “So actually we have got a huge raft of proactive resource that we can point very ably and effectively at these key areas of business.

“What that means is that when we want to have a proactive capacity focusing on neighbourhood issues that’s all being drawn up to a serious high level.

“So that’s quite difficult for us to create capacity for concerns we have across the local communities.

“You can read in the document many of the successes we’ve had in local policing,” he added.

“We recognise to sustain those and build on those we wanted to have the intervention team of a sergeant and nine officers.

“The areas where we’ll be focusing it this year are for two-week short periods of focused activity.

“Leighton Buzzard will have a proactive vehicle operation based around the vans. We do have a trap vehicle.

“You actually think you’re breaking into someone’s van to steal their tools, you could well be breaking into my van.

“So it won’t be what you’re expecting when we find you, and we will find you,” he warned.

“We’ll be running that sort of operation with that proactive capability over a period of two weeks, so it’s really visible, really accessible, people will see and feel a difference.

“Importantly, we’ll have a sustainable proactive capability that really delivers for us in neighbourhoods.”

There were several reports of vehicles broken into at Leighton Buzzard in December and January.

Bedfordshire Police Sgt Ben Dimmock said at the time: “This type of criminality is not acceptable in Bedfordshire and I’d like to reassure residents that investigations into these thefts are on-going.”

To deter opportunist thieves, the force recommends never leaving tools or valuables in a vehicle overnight, parking in a well-lit area or one covered by CCTV, and having a sign saying no tools are left in a vehicle overnight.