Dawn raids aim to round up Christmas present thieves

Police raid an Edinburgh property to recover stollen goods.
Police raid an Edinburgh property to recover stollen goods.
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CRIMINALS who break into homes in the Capital during the festive season to steal Christmas presents were today targeted in a string of dawn raids by police.

More than 100 officers were involved in raids on 14 addresses in the north and west of Edinburgh. Ten people were arrested and two detained.

Serial housebreakers often step up their activities during the Christmas period to take advantage of city homes stocked with valuable items intended as gifts.

Today’s raids were carried out simultaneously at 6.30am at properties in Drylaw, Muirhouse, Broomhouse, Stenhouse and Granton.

In Wester Drylaw, more than ten officers were involved in a raid on a top-floor flat. They used hydraulic equipment to prise open the door and a battering ram to burst in. The one man inside was arrested as officers searched the premises.

Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, Edinburgh’s divisional commander, said: “We’ve had some really encouraging results today. This is something we’ve been planning for a while.

“A couple of people were not at home this morning, but this is a targeted approach so we know the individuals we’re seeking to find.”

The police crack down comes as part of Operation Accessible, targeting people suspected of break-ins and other thefts.

Officers have recovered approximately £200,000 worth of stolen goods over the past six months. In total, around 200 stolen items were recovered, including cars, jewellery, and electrical goods such as computers, TVs and mobile phones.

Ch Supt Imery said: “Lothian and Borders Police is committed to achieving justice for victims of housebreakings, and preventing such crimes from happening in the first place.

“This morning’s activity has targeted alleged serial offenders who prey on local communities.

“We are continually focusing our efforts on targeting those involved in housebreakings and other acquisitive crime though intelligence, and it’s only a matter of time before they are caught.”

Councillor Paul Edie, the city’s community safety leader, said: “Operation Accessible is a fantastic example of great police work and I would like to congratulate all of the officers who have been involved.

“This operation sends a strong message to housebreakers that they will be caught and brought to justice.

“I am urging people to be vigilant this festive period and take steps to make sure that their homes are secure.”

Police chiefs today urged anyone with information about housebreakers to contact police on 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and anonymity on 0800-555 111.