THIS was the dramatic moment police broke down a door and raided the home of a suspected South Yorkshire burglar.
Just after 9am yesterday morning on an ordinary South Yorkshire street the peace and quiet was shattered as a convoy of police cars pulled up outside the semi-detached house on Far Lane, Herringthorpe, Rotherham.
Minutes earlier, families had been going about their everyday lives - children had been packed off to school, mums were strolling to the shops and the usual calm of daytime life prevailed.
The dramatic search took place at the start of South Yorkshire Police’s latest Operation Impact ‘day of action’, the third to take place in the last three months and aimed at tackling crimes that blight communities in the county.
After concentrating on shoplifting and vehicle crime, the force yesterday turned its attention to burglary.
In a split second, officers raced to the back door of the house and the cry went out: “This is a warrant!”
The locked door - barricaded shut with a wardrobe - was battered down and torn off its hinges as the officers raided the property, checking for stolen goods and drugs.
By the end of the day, 28 suspects had been arrested, including nine in Sheffield, four in Barnsley, 14 in Doncaster and one in Rotherham.
Detective inspector Chris Singleton said the preliminary results represented a ‘pretty good turnout’.
“It’s been an interesting start. Over the next few days we’ll analyse the results and see what effect the day has had on crime prevention,” he said.
In an early morning briefing at Rotherham Main Street Police Station, acting detective inspector Steve Brooks gave his team their instructions for the day, which included executing search warrants and carrying out high visibility patrols, focusing on the burglary hotspots of Thrybergh, Dalton and Herringthorpe.
Officers also handed out free door and window locks, as well as leaflets containing tips on how to prevent burglaries and identified premises vulnerable to break-ins, before speaking to the owners and offering them security advice.
Police visited pawn shops and market stalls in an attempt to identify stolen property, while ANPR cameras were used to try and nail travelling criminals.
The public were asked to play their part, too, by keeping a lookout for ‘suspicious’ white vans, which are often driven by rogue traders.
In Sheffield, police on horseback patrolled Crookes and Hunter’s Bar and students were offered the chance to have their electrical goods registered.
Following the briefing, the search team then set off for Far Lane, the first of five planned raids.
Det Sgt Phil Wyer, who led the search, said the suspect, his partner and their 16-year-old daughter were inside the house and a stash of seven bicycles was found under a blue gazebo behind the property.
Officers spent hours carrying out a thorough search, which included the use of a sniffer dog.
Cannabis and amphetamines were discovered, and the suspect was arrested. DS Wyer said the bikes ‘caused some concern’ and would be taken to Main Street station for further checks.
“The focus of today is try and reduce burglary, and hopefully to detect some offences as well,” he added.
DI Singleton said: “We’re trying to get South Yorkshire residents to help us to help themselves - taking the simple step of locking doors would be a start.
“We’ve rolled out a raft of crime prevention methods.”
The detective warned that burglary could have ‘wide-ranging’ effects on victims.
“They feel their privacy and security has been invaded.
“At the top level are distraction burglaries where bogus offers of help are made or tricks played.
“Quite often people feel ashamed and embarrassed they have let these people into their homes.”
One in three burglaries in South Yorkshire do not involve forced entry.
DI Singleton said: “With the onset of dark nights, we see an upsurge in terms of burglaries and certainly in Sheffield, with the return of the students who are a vulnerable part of our community.”