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Car thieves beware
11 February 2011

Almost 30 car thieves have been caught on cameras or as a direct result of 'bait' equipment being used by Chichester police in it's crackdown on theft.
Operation Castle has been running since last summer to target crime in hot spot areas. The 'bait' equipment used can take the form of bicycles, cars, trailers, sat navs, computers or televisions, which are rigged with cameras and-or tracking devices.
Inspector Chris Woollerton of the Neighbourhood Policing Team said -This vehicle crime initiative has two main elements, prevention and enforcement. Various bait equipment has been deployed in areas where we know car and other thieves are operating and as a result 29 people have been arrested for taking these items. A total of 32 searches have taken place recovering over £13,000 of outstanding stolen property in addition to the recovery of the bait equipment. Offenders have been either cautioned or charged to appear at court and on one occasion we have caught the same person twice.
Previous crime victims, from as far as Kent and Hampshire, have had property returned to them that had been outstanding for over two years. The victims have been both delighted and relieved as in many incidents insurance companies had not paid out.
However, Operation Castle is not all about enforcement, Chichester police have put signs up in these areas to prevent car crime and raise awareness with the criminals. Free anti-theft screws have been fitted to many vehicles over the past couple of months and officers have visited car boot sales, supermarkets and secondhand outlets giving advice on how to protect property.
Inspector Woollerton continued- We are also working with partner agencies to identify outstanding suspects using our suspect identification and recognition database and pursuing those outstanding criminals. We have disrupted them and reduced crime overall in certain areas which improves the lives of the local community.
click to view The message from the police to either thieves or handlers of stolen goods in West Sussex is simple-If you take it, it could be ours and we will catch you.
If you have information regarding criminals active in your area or you are offered stolen goods please call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Chichester police would like to thank the following companies who have kindly donated bait equipment for use in Operation Castle- Dell, Westbourne Motors, Tom Tom, Microsoft, Ifor, Halfords and B&Q.

click image to see a thief caught in action


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