Task force swoops on housebreakers

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Police have made a number of arrests just days after launching a task force to tackle housebreakings.

Homes in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs, Bearsden and parts of North Lanarkshire have all been targeted in recent months, with thieves often stealing cars in the process.

On some occasions the crimes have been opportunistic with youngsters thought to be stealing the vehicles for joyriding.

However, the scale and frequency of other thefts led to concerns that an organised criminal gang was operating in the area.

Between March and August of this year, a total of 154 vehicles, worth £1.3 million, were stolen from homes in the Greater Glasgow area.

Some thefts had been the result of unsecured homes, however, some instances involved criminals ‘fishing’ for keys through letterboxes by using wire and magnets.

In response, police in East Dunbartonshire launched Operation Orion with fellow officers in the Shettleston area.

Last week saw the arrest of four men and a woman, while two men were detained the week before on similar charges.

Chief Inspector Rob Hay, local divisional commander, says his officers will continue to tackle organised criminal groups operating in the area.

He told the Herald: “I would like to take this opportunity to inform residents that police intelligence suggests that a core group of about 16 to 20 offenders are responsible for a number of thefts within both the East Dunbartonshire and Shettleston areas.

“Working under the code name Operation Orion, officers are actively targeting individuals who are intent on entering homes in the East Dunbartonshire area and stealing.

“Police Scotland are committed to keeping people safe and target all available resources to preventing further crimes of this nature.”

Some residents in East Dunbartonshire took to social media for more information about the house-breakings, while others contacted the police directly.

Inspector Iain Greene, deputy commander, said there had been a ‘slight increase’ in the average number of house breakings in the area.

He said:“The area does suffer from travelling thieves who come to the area and try to enter insecure homes to obtain the keys for vehicles.”

He added: “I understand the concerns some residents have but we have already made five arrests recently regarding the matter.

“The fear of crime will often be greater than is necessary and we are currently working hard to ease the concerns of the public.”