MOTORISTS travelling to work in Burnley were pulled up by police today as a major crime crackdown operation moved into top gear.

Thirty officers including dog handlers and mounted police are involved in a high visibility exercise aimed initially at tackling car crime in the Gannow, Padiham Road and Ightenhill areas.

Operations will take place day and night. People who police may reasonably believe to have been involved in any crime will be stopped, searched and if necessary arrested.

The area has become a car crime hotspot with 15 vehicles, mainly Vauxhalls, stolen as well as others being broken into and property stolen.

The operation will also involve safety in the subways near the Gannow roundabout and on the canal towpath, both having a history of assaults and sex attacks or incidents.

Inspector Jeff Brown, the Padiham-based officer responsible for policing in Burnley west which is soon to also include the Stoops and Hargher Clough estates in south west Burnley, said: "Today's initial high visibility operation is to raise public awareness of auto crime which is a major problem in the community."

Vehicles were waved to the side of the road and drivers given leaflets about how to reduce car crime and offered words of advice about how to prevent their vehicles adding to the crime statistics.

Garages and petrol filling stations in Padiham Road, Accrington Road, Liverpool Road and Rossendale Road are also helping by handing crime prevention advice to customers. Special police are this week to go door-to-door not simply posting leaflets through letter boxes but knocking on doors and telling residents what they can do to fight crime including auto crime and burglaries in the area.

With the dog patrols and mounted police in the area at various times the aim is to disrupt criminals going about their daily business, said Inspector Brown.

Sergeant Steve Hindle said police intelligence had shown that the biggest problem crime area in Burnley west was around Gannow Lane.

Also involved are police target teams from Burnley and the road policing unit with up to 30 extra officers involved.

Inspector Brown added: "It will be a very intense operation and a rolling process taking place at different times."

Anyone who has information about crime in the area is asked to contact Crimestoppers in anonymity on 0800 555111 or if they prefer they can speak to either Inspector Brown or Sergeant Hindle in person and in confidence by phoning 01282 425001.

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