A NEW drive by West Mercia Police to tackle house burglary coincides with a significant reduction in the number of such offences.

A forcewide initiative called Citadel was launched recently to highlight the issue of domestic burglary, encouraging people to take the threat of it seriously.

Across Bromsgrove and Redditch the number of homes burgled since April this year has fallen by just over a quarter compared to the same period last year - equivalent to 100 fewer break-ins.

Over the same time span the number of burglary cases solved has risen by nearly 78 per cent.

Recent successes include the charging of four men who appeared at Warwick Crown Court on September 21 in relation to 40 domestic burglaries this year.

Of those offences 10 were in Bromsgrove, two in Redditch with the remainder committed in Worcestershire, West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Another man is currently on bail after being arrested during the past month in connection with 14 house burglaries and nine other break-ins.

He was arrested following a series of sneak-in burglaries in Redditch.

And last week three men were given custodial sentences for attempted burglaries in Bromsgrove.

Inspector Terry Shore, in charge of CID burglary teams across North Worcestershire, said that burglary of this kind is a high priority.

He said: "We have been focusing on persistent offenders, who are responsible for the majority of these crimes, and if you lock up the right people and they get good sentences, then the number of burglaries comes down.

"The targeting of resources will also have an impact following a burglary and as well as carrying out a thorough investigation we will also brief uniformed officers to increase patrols.

“This provides a deterrent and is aimed at preventing one break-in becoming the start of a series."

Insp Shore said that while mainly local offenders tended to be responsible for burglaries in Redditch, cross-border crime was more of an issue in Bromsgrove due to its proximity with the West Midlands.

He added: "People can do a lot to help themselves by taking this issue seriously and heeding the advice we regularly give.

“A lot of burglars are opportunistic and have a patch that they ‘work' which is close to where they live. They will often return to or near properties they have already broken into.”

In support of Citadel West Mercia Police has launched a ‘Wanted' page on westmercia.police.uk with details of people sought in connection with a range of burglary-related incidents.

This information is also being distributed via Facebook and Twitter.