MEET the pint sized police officers helping to lead the crackdown on crime in Southampton.

The newly-graduated Hampshire Police Cadets have been out in force on the streets of Shirley in a bid to halt a recent spate of burglaries.

After being given a briefing by PC Tom Prutz around 60 pairs of junior-sized police boots began pounding the streets - their mission; to ensure residents are heeding crime prevention advice.

As previously reported, police are investigating a series of burglaries across Shirley where thieves have got in through doors and windows left unlocked or open in the hot weather.

Residents are being told to ensure their homes are safe and valuables kept out of sight - and the cadets made sure that message reached householders while out on patrol.

Resident Doreen Aldworth, 75, said: “I think it is very good information they were giving out. What a great idea, I thought it was brilliant.”

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Neighbour Drake Ron, 69, added: “It is great to see young lads coming around and doing a positive thing. We do get some kids causing some trouble so it is good to see young people taking an interest in the neighbourhood.”

Ali Chambers, a PCSO in Millbrook, said it was good to get the cadets involved: “This is the first time we have been out. It is good for us as this was we hit more addresses and it is a great way of engaging with the community.”

It was the first operation for the cadets who come from schools across the city, having marked the completion of their training with a passing out ceremony earlier this month.

Due to the success of the scheme, which is run by police officers and staff in their own time, the cadet programme is being rolled out across the county.