News

Police step-up patrols to catch criminals

Thursday, 26 January 2017

POLICE in Strabane have increased patrolling on local streets following a spate of burglaries.

In recent months there has been a number of break-ins at properties across the town and district including Sion Mills and Newtownstewart resulting in a higher police presence in a bid to deter would-be criminals.

On Thursday night, a house in Ballymagorry was targeted at approximately 9.50pm by thieves in the Woodbury Heights area when items of jewellery of sentimental value are understood to have been taken.

Police have now confirmed they have upped foot patrols across these areas specifically to disrupt the activities of would-be criminals.

Over the weekend, Local Policing Teams were visibly carrying out foot patrols in the Newtownstewart and Sion Mills.

The PSNI says that whilst it is doing what it can to protect homeowners the onus is also on the community to be vigilant.

Taking to social media, a spokesperson said: "We will do our bit to keep your house safe but we urge you to be proactive in doing the same. If you leave a door unlocked or a window unsecure then you might as well be giving your cash, jewellery or your laptop away for free. Please don't fall victim to these opportunist criminals.

"Report suspicious activity to police as and when you see it. While we appreciate information at any time, to get it as it is happening gives us the best opportunity to take action."

Local community worker, Andy Patton, says people need to be on their guard. He has also welcomed the assurances from police that officers will continue with their high visibility patrols.

"There has been a number of incidents here in Sion Mills recently including the theft of oil from pensioners and damage to the tanks.

"Police have upped patrols and that has to be welcomed. It give reassurance to residents in the area and I have been assured by our neighbourhood officers that those patrols will continue.

"Equally, the community have a big role to play in helping protect their neighbours. My advice is that if you hear a dog barking at night or a gate banging at three or four in the early hours go and check it out or contact police straight away if you are suspicious.

"It might be nothing but it's worth being sure. Criminals are operating under the cover of darkness targeting people and the local community have got to be the eyes and ears for our vulnerable citizens.

"We have a very good community spirit here in Sion and people do tend to be alert to this kind of thing," Mr Patton said.

Meanwhile, detectives confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) that enquiries into the Ballymagorry break-in are continuing.

A spokesperson said: "We are appealing to anyone that may have any information or to anyone that may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area between the hours of 7.15pm and 9.50pm to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1209 19/01/17.

"Or, alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

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