Operation Sleigh: 65 arrests in first week of Christmas crime crackdown

Police launch Operation Sleigh ahead of Christmas.'Detective chief inspector Lee Gosling
Police launch Operation Sleigh ahead of Christmas.'Detective chief inspector Lee Gosling
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A Christmas crime crackdown on suspected burglars has led to 65 arrests in its first week, police have revealed.

Operation Sleigh was launched by Northumbria Police in the build-up to the festive season, targeting offenders across South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Police have been hand-delivering Christmas cards to the homes of known 
criminals, warning them, officers have them in their sights.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Gosling, who is leading Operation Sleigh, said the force had made 65 arrests in the first week of the campaign and promised more police activity to come.

He said: “Burglary is a priority all year long and we know that at this time of the year the fear of burglary increases. That is why we have put extra resources into targeting burglars this month and why we will continue to do everything we can to disrupt known burglars and put offenders before the courts.

“If you commit burglary in Southern Area command, this is the kind of response you can expect.”

l The campaign has also recorded its first conviction with a prolific burglar behind bars for Christmas.

Mark Cooper was sentenced to 35 weeks in custody after the 38-year-old was detained trying to gain entry to St Anthony’s Academy, in Thornhill Terrace, Sunderland, in the early 
hours of Wednesday.

An investigation then found he was also responsible for a burglary at the Tipsy Cow pub, in Bridge Street, where cash was stolen from the till and alcohol also taken.

Cooper, of Blind Lane, New Silksworth, Sunderland, was charged with a burglary and an attempted burglary and has now been jailed after admitting all the charges against him at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court this week.