Help police catch Hull's stolen goods handlers
HANDLERS of stolen property are being warned to "watch out" as police call on the public's help to clamp down on the criminals.
A dedicated phone line is being set up this week so people can report anyone they feel may be receiving and selling ill-gotten gains.
Humberside Police's priority crime team believe targeting the handlers is key to disrupting the network of thieves operating on Hull's estates.
Detective Inspector Nicky Miller said handlers in the city should be worried.
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"We are taking this very seriously and have two officers working full-time on this," she said.
"I would warn handlers that it's only a matter of time before we catch you.
"There may be people out there who are willfully turning a blind eye to what is going on, but they must realise they could be targeted by thieves too.
"We need anyone with knowledge of those handling stolen goods to contact us, which can be done anonymously if necessary."
Det Insp Miller believes the clampdown on handlers will have repercussions for crime across the board.
She said: "We have got to target crime from different angles.
"The focus has been on the burglars themselves but now, by targeting the handlers we can reduce the amount of outlets available to sell on these stolen goods.
"This may deter some people from turning to crime in the first place."
Detective Constable Andy Bradley is one of the officers dedicated to weeding out those receiving and selling stolen goods.
He said: "We want to get the message across that we are deadly serious about this and need the public to get on board and help us.
"We believe the majority of stolen goods is heading to handlers on the estates."
Det Con Bradley admits the police need the public to help them.
He said: "We are finding it difficult to really get into some of the estates and we need the help of residents.
"We just want people to ring us and tell us if they suspect someone living close by appears to be handling stolen goods.
"Some people may feel they don't want to grass someone up but, they have to remember, they could be victims next week and we won't have the information necessary to catch those involved.
"Why should people work hard to buy things for their home only for some toe rag to come along and takes what he likes?"
The latest operation will also provide a clearer picture of what happens to items taken.
Det Con Bradley said: "Targeting handlers also gives us an opportunity to track where the stolen goods are going.
"It is possible the handlers are selling the good on out of the city.
"We believe there is a structure to all this with a network of handlers.
"It could be we get that one tip-off that leads to a big arrest, or we may get information on smaller handlers, which helps builds up a wider picture. We can identify patterns and hopefully predict where offending may take place."
People are being urged to report anything they know, even if it seems trivial.
To report anything suspicious regarding handling stolen goods, call officers on 01482 340606.