Crackdown on Halloween crime

Poss with other A multi-agency crackdown on Halloween and Bonfire Night-related crime is set to be rolled out across Breckland following its success within the district's biggest market town.

A MULTI-agency crackdown on Halloween and Bonfire Night-related crime is set to be rolled out across Breckland following its success in the district's biggest market town.

Operation Dampened Spirits was launched in Thetford five years ago to tackle illegal fires and anti-social behaviour in the town.

Now the initiative involving police, firefighters, Breckland Council, and Trading Standards officers has been launched across the district to deter young people from getting into trouble during the half-term holidays.

The scheme, which saw the number of arson-related callouts in Thetford reduce by more than half last year, aims to target known offenders and hot spots before they affect local residents.

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Police will be increasing patrols across Breckland's towns over the Halloween and fireworks night period and officers will be working with retailers to restrict the sale of flour and eggs to youngsters.

"Do Not Disturb" posters will be distributed to householders who do not wish to be involved in trick or treating and Trading Standards and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service officers will be visiting fireworks retailers to ensure they are following the letter of the law and are not selling fireworks to under 18s.

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In Thetford, firefighters will continue to work with Breckland Council officers to perform bonfire checks and officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team will be on hand to ensure there are no public order problems.

Breckland Insp Adam Hayes from Norfolk Police said: "The main intentions of the Dampened Spirits operation will be to promote a positive and reassuring message to our communities that we will be targeting those individuals who may seek to cause misery to local residents through unwanted trick or treat visits, anti-social behaviour and misuse of fireworks."

"Officers from the SNTs are heavily involved with youth engagement initiatives and liaising with schools prior to the event where young people are being encouraged to enjoy the period but to be mindful of their behaviour," he said.

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