RURAL criminals are the target of a new district-wide police crackdown.
Operation Tempest follows a spate of shop burglaries in Wilmcote, Harbury, Stratford, Bidford and Alcester, all within a few days of each other.
And this year has also seen ram-raids using diggers at two Co-op stores in Fenny Compton and Shipston, which followed another in Loxley in December.
The operation will see increased police presence and patrols, as well as awareness events being held across the district.
Ch Insp David Kettle, who is leading the operation, said police recognised the impact the crimes have on rural residents.
He added: “We want to reassure those rural communities that often feel isolated, that we are working hard to identify those responsible, while empowering and engaging our communities who we believe, will play an integral part in the solution in tackling acquisitive crime.
“Through Operation Tempest, we also want to send a clear message to thieves that we will be employing a range of tactics aimed at preventing acquisitive crime and catching those responsible, and we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.
“The events we will be attending over the course of the campaign offer a great opportunity for our local officers to get out into the community and speak to people, telling them about the work we’re doing while offering some expert crime prevention advice.
“It is well known that simple crime prevention measures can act as a great deterrent to criminals, and by taking some simple steps members of the public can help prevent themselves from being targeted.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe gave his backing to the operation.
He said: “I am continuing to ensure the police have the right funding and equipment to tackle crime wherever it occurs, with extra officers helping to boost the response to the public.
“We do know however that rural towns and villages can feel particularly isolated and vulnerable, while the effects of criminal activity in these communities is keenly felt by residents and businesses alike.
“That’s why it’s vital that our police continue to evolve their tactics to tackle the changing nature of crime, targeting offenders and boosting patrols in the areas where crime is occurring.
“Operation Tempest is a good demonstration of this and I want it to really reinforce the message that rural parts of our county should not be viewed as a soft touch for criminals.”
Search Facebook for Warwickshire Police or #OpTempest on Twitter for updates.
Anyone with concerns or information about criminal activity can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.