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A teenage thief targeting a house in Newcastle got more than he bargained for after Northumbria Police set up a "sting" to catch him out - as the force gears up for a winter crackdown on acquisitive crime.
Joshua Tumilty broke into the 'home' in the Benwell area of the city's west end and stole a laptop, set of speakers and a bottle of vodka - taking the bait in a police sting which caught him red-handed.
The house had been rigged up with hidden cameras by police as part of a crackdown on burglaries in the area.
19 year old Tumilty of Colston Street in Newcastle, previously pleaded guilty to burglary and appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday November 17th for sentence, which was deferred for six months.
His appearance comes prior to a launch of a Northumbria Police campaign aimed at cracking down on thieves in the run up to Christmas.
A series of sting houses in Newcastle's west end join a set of cars, bikes and even a van which are in operation right across the city aimed at catching thieves in the act and preventing crimes from taking place during the festive season.
Neighbourhood Inspector Leigh McManus said, "Tumilty was caught after going into the sting house and stealing from inside, with the whole thing caught on CCTV. We're running sting property all across the city in an effort to catch people in the act and on this occasion it's worked.
There are other examples progressing through the courts, including a man charged with burgling another premises in the west end. These houses are part of an ongoing operation in the west end to crack down on burglaries."
There are other cases progressing through the courts after suspected thieves took the bait from areas across the city - including a sting bike stolen in the east of the city and theft from a van in East Denton.
Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert, Newcastle Area Commander, added, "The message to criminals is very clear: Burgle a house, steal from a car, ride off on a bike that's not yours and there's a very good chance you will be caught in the act.
Sting operations are just one tactic among many that we're using in the run up to Christmas in a crackdown on thieves to identify suspected offenders and have them brought before the courts. This includes covert tactics together with high visibility reassurance and enforcement work to make arrests.
As well as those carrying out the burglaries and thefts, it includes targeting and arresting the receivers and handlers of stolen property to close any outlets for the property to be disposed of."
Ch Supt Calvert added that equally important to the enforcement action is making sure residents have security advice. He said, "Hand in hand with this enforcement action is ensuring residents have the relevant crime prevention advice to reduce their risk of falling victim to such a crime.
This includes locking doors and windows and ensuring valuables, particularly car keys, are stored securely out of sight and reach. During these darker nights homeowners should take a good look at their homes before they leave them. Do they look unoccupied? Could their crime prevention measures be improved?
As with anything, we rely on information from the public and would urge any residents to contact us if they see anything suspicious in their neighbourhood or have information about those involved in crime."