BURGLARY rates in Ringwood have dropped over the past eight weeks following a campaign by local neighbourhood policing teams.

An increase in police activity, including on-going stop and search checks, has resulted in fewer residential and commercial burglaries being reported in Ringwood and the surrounding areas.

A police spokesman said 49 burglaries or attempted burglaries were reported by the public in September and October.

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But Ringwood Neighbourhood Policing Teams have seen a 36% decrease in criminal activity in the area since the start of November.

Last week just four burglaries were reported compared to 19 in the previous seven-day period.

A police spokesman said: "Specialist officers have been deployed to high-risk areas within Ringwood – with officers and PCSOs patrolling these communities in order to deter any suspicious activity and identify any offenders, as well as using stop and search powers to disrupt any suspicious or potential criminal activity.

"Theft from motor vehicles, sheds and garages were those most commonly targeted."

Michael Minnock, Inspector for New Forest West District, added: “We are well aware of the impact that this type of criminal activity can have on our local communities – especially those who are self-employed and rely on tools for their livelihoods.

"In adopting a more stringent approach to non-dwelling burglaries and ensuring there is a higher policing visibility on key areas and at key times – including the early hours of the mornings, we have seen an overall reduction in the area.

"This is something that we as a local neighbourhood policing team will continue to strive to reduce even further.

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“This is a district priority for us and are working closely with our partners, including New Forest District Council and neighbouring police forces, to prevent further crime and identify potential offenders – especially in recent light of cross-border activity.

"We want the local communities to be reassured that our neighbourhood policing teams are doing all that they can within their powers to prioritise investigative opportunities at all reported burglaries in the area.

“While there has been a decrease in activity in the area, we would ask that residents remain vigilant and report all criminal and suspicious activity through the normal channels – by either calling 101 or via the Hampshire Constabulary online reporting tool.

"Please remember to call 999 if a crime is in progress or where there is an obvious threat to life."