SOUTH Tyneside residents are being urged to report any suspicious late-night behaviour to police.
A recent spate of shed break-ins in East Shields – the Harton, Marsden, The Nook and Horsley Hill areas of South Shields – has prompted local officers to remind people to get in touch if they see anything suspicious happening.
The break-ins have happened in Steward Crescent, Redwell Lane, Gorse Avenue, West Avenue, Northfield Gardens, Hayton Avenue, Mowbray Villas and Mulberry Crescent over the last two weeks.
In most cases, thieves have only caused damage, but items including bikes, tools and electrical equipment have been stolen.
Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Hudson said: “People often use sheds to store equipment which may be worth hundreds of pounds and which are sometimes only secured by a cheap padlock.
“Not only can householders lose their valuable property, but garden tools can also be used to break into homes.
“Simple security measures such as using quality padlocks and replacing standard hinges with strap hinges can make a real difference to protecting property.
“Garden side gates should be locked as an intruder climbing over is more likely to be seen as suspicious than one that just opens the gate and walks in.
“Security lighting is also a deterrent, and portable shed alarms can scare off intruders.
“As always we’d ask people to come to us with any suspicious activity or noises they may hear, especially in the night, so we can take action.”
Officers will be carrying out extra patrols at key times to deter and target thieves, and people are being urged to follow crime prevention advice to avoid becoming a victim of burglars.
The action is part of Operation Soundwave, a police campaign targeting opportunist criminals.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101.
Crime prevention advice is available at www.northumbria.police.uk and people can register their property for free with www.immobilise.com