Some of Preston’s most prolific burglars are being asked to voluntarily wear an electronic tag under a pilot scheme to thwart a rise in burglary in the city.
The city has seen some of the lowest burglary rates in the country with a 40 per cent drop in break ins between 2005 and 2012.
However in the last year there has been a slight increase in offences, the majority involving insecure homes.
Police have revealed between six and 10 offenders are monitored on the new scheme at any one time, and have stressed it is in addition to other measures such as court tags and prison tags.
Preston’s policing division recorded an increase of a fifth, with 1,297 burglaries last year - 471 in homes.
The figures were revealed as Operation Julius, aimed at thwarting burglars, is launched across the county.
Today Supt Eddie Thistlethwaite, of Preston Police, said: “We have seen a slight rise in burglary, but the fact remains that we have one of the lowest burglary rates in the country. I was a sergeant in Preston in the early 1990s when we were dealing with 200 burglaries a month.
“Now that figure is more like 50 a month. But it is a priority crime for us.
“The voluntary tag scheme is in the early stages and is only a small part of the measures we have in place to tackle burglary. It is too early to judge if it is a success.
“We focus on the positive treatment of offenders. If someone is stealing we try to get them clean, get balance in their lives, and support their families.
The offenders are not legally compelled to comply with the scheme, but by agreeing, the criminal demonstrates a willingness to comply with their rehabilitation process and so they will receive practical help from the authorities to help them keep on the straight and narrow.
In Southern Division, which covers Leyland, Chorley, Hutton and surrounding areas, there were 2,155 burglaries compared to 2,062 the previous year. Operation Julius will run until the end of March. The county’s top 30 burglary suspects will be visited, raids will be carried out on suspects, and police patrols will be carried out in hot spot areas. The same operation last February saw more than 350 arrested.