Social media sites, car boot sales and second-hand dealers will be targeted by police in South Tyneside on the hunt for stolen goods.
Officers are stepping up Operation Cell=Time in an effort to limit the ways crooks can pass off stolen property as their own.
Every day, police armed with lists of items reported as stolen will be carrying out spot checks on second-hand stores.
If any are found, traders will be asked to hand over details of those who sold them.
Officers will also be trawling the internet and visiting car boot sales to catch out thieves trying to sell stolen property to unsuspecting customers.
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “With the recent rise in burglaries and theft from motor vehicles, we are stepping up our Operation Cell=Time campaign to limit the ways thieves can dispose of their stolen goods.
“Car boot sales and the internet will be targeted regularly by police looking for those trying to pass off stolen items to unsuspecting customers, and anyone caught can expect to be hit with the full force of the law.
“Second-hand shops will also be visited to remind traders of their responsibilities and to offer advice on how they can prevent finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.”
Anyone caught knowingly accepting stolen goods or condoning the sale could face up to 14 years in jail.
Operation Cell=Time, launched in 2006, is designed to make exchanges between sellers and second-hand dealers safer.
From today, anyone selling goods in second-hand stores will have their identification checked and recorded, their goods checked for UV markings and their thumbprint taken to ensure the goods they are handing are their property.
A number of second-hand stores across the borough have already signed up to the police initiative, giving them powers to carry out ID checks on their own customers, including fingerprinting.
Insp Sutton said burglaries in South Tyneside are down compared to last year, however, there has been a slight increase in recent months – something he hopes Operation Cell=Time will go a long way to stop.
Checks by police on second-hand stores and car boot sales have in the past recovered stolen goods.
In one case, a man had a remote-control helicopter returned after officers found the item during a routine visit to a second-hand store.
The helicopter had been stolen from the owner’s van.
Anyone with information about people trying to sell second-hand goods is asked to contact police on (03456) 043 043 or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555 111.