Sussex Police is preparing for a burglary spree over Guy Fawkes weekend by informing residents how to secure their homes.
The run up to bonfire and fireworks season leads to a jump in burglaries - with more happening in Sussex on November 5 than on any other day of the year.
Bonfire Night kicks off a five-day break-in spree for criminals in the county, with statistics from the last five years revealing there are more burglaries in that period than at any other time of the year.
Police this year are working with Neighbourhood Watch groups as well as neighbouring forces to encourage residents to make their homes secure and to report suspicious behaviour.
There were 80 burglaries committed in Sussex on November 5 between 2009 and 2013 - an average of 16 crimes on that day each year.
In comparison, there were nine burglaries on average per day in Sussex last year.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Betts said: “The statistics show that Bonfire Night and the days around it are popular with burglars as residents go out to events in the evenings.
“We’re determined to change that pattern this year by showing residents how they can make their homes more secure and less inviting to intruders.
“Our PCSOs are also organising street surgeries across the county to give burglary prevention advice to residents.”
Throughout the year officers share information with Neighbourhood Watch coordinators and members to keep them up to date with crime in the community.
Extra advice is currently being passed to residents by Neighbourhood Watch groups to try to prevent them becoming a victim of burglary.
Simple things like making sure windows and doors are locked, putting lights on a timer and not leaving valuables on display can make the difference between being burgled or not.
John Wright, the chairman of Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation and a trustee of the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network, said: “For more than 30 years Neighbourhood Watch has been partnering police in the prevention and detection of crime, as well as public and community safety.
“If everybody were to keep an eye open for things out of the ordinary and immediately contacted the police about suspicious activity, career criminals could be put behind bars and prevented from committing further crimes.
“It’s all about care in the community and ordinary people helping each other out. The evidence is that where Neighbourhood Watch schemes operate, the chances of being burgled are hugely reduced. And the beauty of it all is that Neighbourhood Watch is free to join.”
Officers are also grateful to the media for publishing appeals that can alert witnesses that the police need their help.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Raymer, of Surrey Police, said: “Working with the BBCs Crimewatch Roadshow has always provided us with the ideal platform to push out crime prevention messages as well as appealing for information about cases.
“In the summer I was able to put across the importance of using immobilise to register your property alongside an appeal to reunite some recovered jewellery with its owners.”
Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie to tackle burglary across the county.
Good teamwork between officers in Sussex and Surrey has led to the jailing of 28-year-old Adam Yaroo for six years earlier this month.
Yaroo, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court to escaping from lawful custody and to five burglaries in Tadworth and one burglary in Coulsdon.
He also admitted having committed a further 18 burglaries in Sussex and Surrey as far back as February 2012.
These included burglaries in Cansiron Lane, Ashurstwood, at Felcourt Road, Hurst Farm Road, Brooklands Way and Holtye Road, East Grinstead, at Pett Road and Barley Lane, Hastings, and at Langton Lane, Hurstpierpoint.
Yaroo also admitted he was responsible for burglaries in Caterham, Epsom, Banstead, Godalming, Guildford and Coulsdon.
Among the other successes for the Magpie team are:
- The jailing of Mark Vine, 37, for 30 months for five counts of fraud and breaking into a home in Woodland Way, Brighton, on 5 October last year. Vine, previously of Stonepound Road, Hassocks, already had six convictions for burglary and a series of theft offences before the latest crimes.
- The charging of Michael Marshall, 34, with two burglaries on 14 October in Elm Grove, Bognor Regis, a burglary on 13 October in Rapley Avenue, Storrington, and possession of a Class B drug. Marshall, of Carleton Road, Chichester, was released on bail to appear at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on 23 December.
- The charging of Carl Bridgewater, 28, with a burglary at Wantley Hill Estate in Henfield between 13 September and 27 October during which jewellery and cash was stolen. Bridgewater, of Wantley Hill Estate, was ordered to appear at Lewes Crown Court on 21 November.
- The charging of Joseph Doyley, 39, with a burglary in Queens Gardens, Eastbourne, on 18 October. Doyley, of Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, was remanded in custody to appear at Lewes Crown Court on 20 November.
- The arrest of a 20-year-old man on suspicion of a burglary in Connaught Road, Littlehampton, on 13 October. The man was released on bail until 21 November.
- The arrest of a 25-year-old man and a 23-year-old man on suspicion of a burglary at a home in Birch Close, Lancing, on 21 October. Both men have been released on bail until 9 December.
If you have any information about burglaries or shops selling stolen goods, call 101 or email email@example.com. For crime prevention advice visit www.sussex.police.uk.
If you see or hear a burglary taking place call 999 immediately.
Residents can also register their items on the world’s largest property database so that if they are stolen, they can be reunited with the owners - and so the offenders can be prosecuted.
You can register your property in just a few minutes by visiting www.immobilise.com. To watch a video about Immobilise and how it works, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XZ66WEER_c.
For more information about Neighbourhood Watch visit www.ourwatch.org.uk.