AN operation to crack down on burglaries in Worcestershire has been hailed a big success by West Mercia Police.

The force launched operation Citadel in September. At that time, almost 150 more burglary offences had been recorded since April 1 compared with the previous year.

As well as introducing new tactics to catch thieves, Operation Citadel involved issuing crime prevention advice.

At the start of August, reported burglaries were 16.8 per cent over the target set at the start of the year (1,121 offences against a target of 960), but on December 1, the number of reported burglaries had dropped to just 3.3 per cent over the target set for that specific date (2,074 offences against a target of 2,007).

Superintendent Graeme Pallister, who is now overseeing the operation across West Mercia and Warwickshire, said: “We are not complacent and there is still a lot of work to do but it pleasing to see things moving in the right direction.

“That is why the Citadel initiative will be continuing for the foreseeable future in West Mercia, as well as being launched for the first time in Warwickshire.

“What is especially pleasing about recent figures is that we normally see an increase in burglaries as winter arrives.

“This year this has not happened. Although it is difficult to prove definitively, I have no doubt that the Citadel operation has played a part in the recent improvement.”

“Having said that, I am pleased with the current position. I would like to remind people that there is often an increase in reported burglaries straight after Christmas and therefore it is important everyone does all they can to ensure their homes are secure and not vulnerable.”