Dozens arrested in blitz on theft

Hard: Supt Martin Hemingway.
Hard: Supt Martin Hemingway.

SECONDHAND shops and scrap yards across South Yorkshire have been targeted by police in a new blitz on offenders selling off stolen goods.

Days of action have been run in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster as part of Operation Maximise, a national crackdown on burglars, robbers, metal thieves and criminals handling stolen goods.

High-profile police patrols were carried out in crime hotspots, scrap yards and secondhand shops were checked and crime prevention advice was given out at supermarkets across the county.

Superintendent Martin Hemingway, who coordinated the operation, said: “We ran Maximise to clamp down on crime in the run up to Christmas. We recognise how hard it is for everyone in our communities - businesses and hard-working families alike - and we want to support them by striking at those who steal or trade in stolen goods.

“The operation targeted known thieves using search and arrest warrants. Thorough checks were also carried out at secondhand goods outlets and within the scrap metal trade.”

Officers in Sheffield made 24 arrests, including six for robbery, eight for burglary and five for handling stolen goods.

A total of 51 secondhand shops were visited across the city, with 20 owners advised about licensing issues.

Three vehicles were seized in Sheffield, including a motorbike from an alleged burglary in Edinburgh.

Officers received intelligence the bike was for sale on eBay and arranged to buy it, setting up a meeting last Saturday at Woodall Services on the M1.

The bike was recovered and three offenders arrested for handling stolen goods while inquiries continue with officers north of the border regarding the original burglary offence.

Supt Hemingway said: “The traffic in stolen property is a big priority for the police.

“Thieves need to sell what they steal in order to make it worth their while.

“We are upping our efforts to clamp down on this corrosive trade which is damaging hard-pressed communities.

“Maximise was carried out in addition to our existing campaigns around drink-driving and alcohol abuse in the run up to Christmas. Fighting crime is a 365-days-a-year job.

“We will always go the extra mile to fight crime, no matter how busy we are.”

There were 20 arrests made in Doncaster, including eight for burglary, five for theft and one for drugs.

Stolen property including laptops, watches and rolls of cable were also recovered in the town.