14 Jan 2015 09:41 AM[View Full Size]
Police in Northumberland have launched a crackdown on criminal damage blighting the county.
Operation Wipeout comes following an increase in reports of damage across the area including house windows being smashed and cars being scratched, their tyres slashed or windows smashed.
While those causing the damage may see it as a joke, they are being reminded it is a crime and has a detrimental impact on the entire community.
Officers will be stepping up patrols in areas and at times where the damage is happening and offenders are being warned police have them in their sights.
Superintendent Mick Paterson, from Northumberland Area Command, said: "Criminal damage blights communities and has a real detrimental impact on those living in the area it's caused.
"It not only affects the person whose home or property is damaged, it affects entire neighbourhoods as everyone can see it. It can raise the fear of crime and have a negative impact on everyone's quality of life.
"Often this type of damage isn't planned and can be opportunist in its nature with those responsible for it thinking it's a joke.
"However, we want them to know it's no joke, they are breaking the law and they will be treated like criminals. They will be arrested, have their DNA and fingerprints taken and their house searched.
"Ending up with a criminal record can seriously affect a young person's future career prospects. Young people need to put this into perspective when thinking about doing anything like this - is smashing a car or house window really worth ruining the rest of your working life for?
"Our officers will be speaking to schools to address young people's behaviours and let them know the serious consequences of committing criminal damage as well as encourage them to have pride in where they live.
"I would urge communities to continue contacting us with any concerns they have and reporting criminal damage in their area so we can take action."
People can contact police on 101, extension 69191 or via the Northumbria Police website, www.northumbria.police.uk