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It's a crime cracking Christmas in Wigan
Thursday 6th December, 2012

Police in Wigan have launched their Christmas crime crackdown.

The initiative launched on 1 December to 2 January is part of the Forcewide Operation Advent. It sees the police, Wigan Council and other agencies continuing to work together to ensure that people living, working and socialising in the town centre can go about their business trouble-free over the festive period.

Officers will be increasing their high-visibility patrols across the area to target shoplifting and bike theft as well as violent crime and assaults in the evenings. They will also target known offenders by carrying out home visits and bail checks. Officers will also visit victims of crime and offer crime prevention advice to them and their neighbours.

A specific emphasis will be placed on policing the town centre at night to keep revellers safe. Plain clothes officers, police community support officers and special constables will be working in hotspot areas to capture intelligence and evidence of criminal activity and stop and searches and direction to leave notices will be issued if someone is acting suspiciously or disrupting the peace for the community.

Members of the Pemberton Neighbourhood Policing Team will be out in the town centre where they will be issuing purse bells for those shoppers with handbags and offering crime prevention advice

Chief Inspector of operations for GMP’s Wigan Division, Gareth Hughes, said: “There will be lots of activity taking place throughout the festive period, to ensure that whether people are out shopping, working or socialising across Wigan, they can do so safely.

“We will be targeting known offenders and making arrests where appropriate. Our officers together with staff from Trading Standards will be visiting second hand stores to ensure premises are licensed to sell the goods, they are not selling to under-16s, a full log is made of the items they have obtained and that they are not selling stolen goods.

“The holiday season is not a time to rest on our laurels by working together and taking sensible precautions we can keep Wigan safe during the festive period. By following a few steps you can help us keep criminals out in the cold. Use timer switches to operate lights it can keep burglars guessing on whether your home is occupied and encourage them to give it a wide berth. Doing this, setting your burglar alarm and shutting and locking all doors and windows could help ensure that you have a safe and peaceful Christmas.

“If you’re going out and about my advice is simple. Pace your drinks, stay with friends, plan your route home, look after your belongings, drink sensibly and know your limits.

“When out doing your Christmas shopping, motorists should remember not to leave any valuables in cars. Remember Christmas is also a time for criminals.”

Other initiatives being carried out by police in Wigan during the festive period include Operation Stay Safe. It sees officers working with partners at the council’s antisocial behaviour team, the housing authority and local authority to tackle antisocial behaviour and the issues that arise through the night time economy. The Division will also continue to work with homeless shelter “The Brick” in Wigan Town Centre and Leigh Town Centre.

Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: "Christmas can be a gift for criminals. There's rich pickings under the tree for unwanted house guests. Bags of parcels left on the back seat of your car make great window shopping for opportunistic thieves. Whilst people who usually show common sense can sometimes throw caution to the wind, ending up either the victim or even the perpetrator of crime or anti-social behaviour.

"Wigan Council supports Forcewide Operation Advent and urges people to keep their wits about them, watch out for their friends and neighbours and show consideration for others in the community. Let's make Christmas memorable for all the right reasons!"

People can follow what police are doing for Operation Advent by searching GMP’s Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and audioBoo. All related tweets on Twitter will contain the hash tag #GMPAdvent

An advent calendar is also running on the GMP website throughout December. It features short daily video clips of officers and staff providing seasonal crime prevention advice.

To report crime, please call police on the new non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Use 999 only in emergencies where there is a threat to life or property or a crime in progress.

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