Plain clothes police are cycling around communities in an attempt to identify some of the county’s most prolific burglars.
Officers have been using push bikes which, ironically enough, have been taken from the force’s store of suspected stolen property.
The patrols, around suburban areas of Leeds, Bradford and other parts of West Yorkshire, have allowed police to travel unseen, calling in uniformed support if they spot any suspicious activity.
So far the covert tactics have proven hugely successful. Over the course of one weekend, 49 people were arrested for a range of offences including burglary, theft from vehicles and drug offences. Sixteen stolen vehicles were also recovered during the same three shifts.
Superintendent Pat Casserly, who led the operation, said: “This activity was about taking the fight to those who look to prey like vultures on our communities and targeting them before they have chance to carry out crime.”
The crackdown is part of West Yorkshire Police’s Viper project, which aims to drive down the number of burglaries being committed in the area. Since the initiative was launched last year, the number of offences has fallen by 920.
While several suspected criminals have said the latest strategy isn’t “fair”, police have confirmed they plan to repeat the tactics in the near future.
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