IT’S 8.30AM sharp on a blustery weekday morning and eight police officers and four detectives are piling into the garden of an ordinary-looking home in Kirkby.
They are briefed to deliver what Det Sgt Marcus Oldroyd hopes will be a valuable wake-up call.
Acting on ‘intelligence’, the officers are raiding the semi-detached house on the Coxmoor estate in the hope of busting a selling point for stolen goods.
“This is a job where it’s all or nothing,” says Det Sgt Oldroyd as he lays down the aims of the operation.
“We are either going to walk into an Aladdin’s cave, or it’s going to be not what we thought it was.”
The detective and his colleagues at Sutton CID are on the front line of Nottinghamshire Police’s war on burglary, and Ashfield is now proving a fruitful battleground for them.
From 37 burglaries across Sutton and Kirkby in February, just 12 were recorded in May, a fall which police say is down to a fast, thorough approach which has led to officers knocking on more doors and busting more thieves.
Today they are acting on information the occupant of the house pays cash for goods into the hands of burglars who have hit local homes, providing a market for theft.
He’s not been in trouble with police for years, and little is known about him, so the team isn’t 100 per cent sure what to expect.
All is otherwise quiet in the street as Det Sgt Oldroyd knocks on the door.
The plan is to ‘gain entry’ whether the occupant is in or not, whether he is ready for a fight or not.
In the end it’s a peaceful way in as the suspect simply opens the door and realises the small army of burly coppers is coming in whether he likes it or not. A search begins and 10 minutes later Det Sgt Oldroyd emerges from the front door bearing a satisfied grin. The intelligence has paid off.
Inside they have found a £2,500 bundle of cash, plus a hoard of power tools and fishing tackle worth thousands of pounds which could be stolen.
It’s enough to ‘lift’ the occupant on suspicion of handling stolen goods and take him in for questioning while the property is examined.
After going door-to-door with PCSOs to re-assure other residents on the street, Det Sgt Oldroyd heads back to the station.
It’s here the long process of trying to link items to break-ins begins.
Officers look for SmartWater, a colourless liquid which shows up under ultraviolet light, which owners can dab onto valuables, plus post coding and other clues which can trace goods to owners.
As records are checked, Det Sgt Oldroyd explains how detectives link clues and work with other parts of the police force to secure convictions and drive down the all-important figures.
“Crime has gone down all over the county but I think we are leading in terms of setting an example, the performance of Ashfield North is now really good,” he says.
“It’s about being robust when the job comes in and attacking the right people.”
Figures show a disproportionate amount of crime is often committed by only a handful of people; lock up the right suspects, and you can make a big dent. Det Sgt Oldroyd points out the case of house burglar Jamie Hill (30), arrested after work from Mansfield CID.
In May he was jailed for four years and four months after being convicted of two Sutton break-ins on 29th March and 15th December last year.
He admitted the offences and also asked for 20 other house burglaries, mainly in the Sutton area over five years, and 13 non-dwelling burglaries to be taken into account.
Det Con Serena Kirk, Det Sgt Oldroyd’s colleague at Sutton CID, adds: “There’s a focus on detections but you can arrest and disrupt the suspects as well, take them in and get good intelligence from them.”
Adds Det Sgt Oldroyd: “You also create your own luck; you never know what you are going to find when you follow something up.”
Anyone with information about burglary or other crime in and around Sutton and Kirkby can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111 or Sutton CID on 01623 483130.