County criminals asked to hand themselves in before Christmas

Wellingborough Police Station
Wellingborough Police Station

Police are opening up custody cells exactly a week before Christmas and urging offenders to come along and “clear their conscience” or face being arrested on the big day itself.

Officers in Wellingborough will be throwing open the town’s police station cells for a day on Thursday, December 18, inviting people to clear their conscience for Christmas if they have been involved in crime.

Wellingborough Sector Inspector Paul Valentine said: “My message to offenders is this: If you don’t want your Christmas ruined, pay us a visit on 18 December and we’ll deal with you at your local station.

“If not, we could be calling for you on Christmas Day and taking you into custody in Northampton.

“If you don’t want your Christmas disrupted in this way, pay us a visit next Thursday.”

The move is part of a countywide bid to keep incidents of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour to a minimum over the Christmas and New Year period.

Initiatives on retail crime, opportunist theft, street drinking and begging have been drawn up as part of Operation Lapland, the force’s operation to drive down Christmas crime.

Inspector Vaughan Clarke of Corby, added: “Our normal daytime officers will focus on anti-social behaviour hotspots in Corby and we will see enhanced levels of policing in the town centre focusing on retail crime.”

Sergeant Simon Pinchin, who is leading the operation in Northampton, said: “We are working with Northampton Borough Council’s CCTV operation, environmental wardens, security and shop staff and the NRCI, (Northampton Retail Crime Initiative) to prevent, disrupt and deter criminals in the town centre.

“My team, supported by extra officers, will be on hand to provide reassurance and help.

“With the help of NRCI members and the CCTV system, suspects can be spotted quickly and deterred.

“We want the public and retail staff, to have an enjoyable shopping experience this Christmas.”

Inspector Andy Hall, who is in charge of policing the south of the county, said: “We have increased patrols across Towcester and Brackley to provide reassurance to local residents, businesses and patrons.

“Targeted patrols are taking place to locate and identify offenders and swiftly bring them to justice.”

In Daventry, the aim is to double the uniformed presence in the town centre during the Christmas period, with extra funding from police and Daventry Town Council to extend CCTV monitoring hours throughout December.

Daventry Safer Community Team Sergeant, Sam Dobbs said: “Our biggest challenge is getting local retailers to report incidents and crime.

“While some of them expect and plan for stock loss, shoplifting puts up our prices and engenders a culture that it’s OK to steal, when it isn’t.

“Shoplifting in Daventry is a crime which is not victimless as often the motives are drug-related. This year’s plans are based on feedback from 100 per cent of retailers last year, when Op Lapland saw crimes reduce by 50 per cent to just 13 crimes, of which 11 were detected.

“One major retailer saw stock loss reduce from £250 per month to zero.

“That’s a tough target to beat, but working with the retail community and Daventry Town Council’s CCTV, we’ll do our best.”