A SUCCESSFUL high-tech police scheme is set to start in Darwen in a bid to slash crime.

E-mailer Watch will link Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators with the police via a special machine.

Every week intelligence briefings will be sent out to hightlight crime trends and hotspots in the community. It is being launched at Darwen Police Station on Monday and will go 'live' the following week.

The network will also make it possible to circulate appeals for witnesses and crime prevention advice.

Those taking part can send messages back and also e-mail each other.

Co-ordinators will be asked to tell police if they are suspicious of any strangers or new people moving into the area, strange vehicles, repeat problems and issues of community concern.

The importance of getting clear descriptions, vehicle types and registrations is also being stressed.

Free e-mailing machines and instructions are to be given out at the launch.

Police Sergeant Andrea Bradbury, the new geographic co-ordinator at Darwen, said: "We believe that a thriving Neighbourhood Watch will assist us to bring down crime.

"I know a lot of people feel quite intimidated by e-mail but this system is extremely simple to use."

The police Community Safety Department began to explore way to enhance the working of Neighbourhood Watch throughout the Eastern Division late last year.

A pilot E-Mailer Watch scheme was started in South Blackburn in February and as a result of its success plans are in place to expand it.

Its main aims are to decrease crime, increase co-ordinator satisfaction in the services provided, increase crime prevention work and increase the flow of information and intelligence.