ALMOST 30 car thieves have been caught after police used ‘bait’ tactics to lure them in.
Police in Chichester have rigged cars with cameras and tracking devices to snare criminals since last summer, to target car crime in hotspot areas.
Inspector Chris Woollerton, from Chichester Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: ‘This vehicle crime initiative has two main elements, prevention and enforcement.
‘Various bait equipment has been deployed in areas where we know car and other thieves are operating and as a result 29 people have been arrested for taking these items.
‘A total of 32 searches have taken place, recovering over £13,000 of outstanding stolen property in addition to the recovery of the bait equipment. Offenders have been either cautioned or charged to appear at court and we have caught the same person twice.
‘Previous crime victims, from as far as Kent and Hampshire, have had property returned to them that had been outstanding for over two years.
‘The victims have been both delighted and relieved as in some incidents insurance companies had not paid out.’
Chichester police have also visited car-boot sales, supermarkets and second-hand shops giving advice on how to protect property.
Free anti-theft screws have been fitted to vehicles.
Insp Woollerton added: ‘The message from the police to either thieves or handlers of stolen goods in West Sussex is simple: “If you take it, it could be ours and we will catch you.”’