Preston burglary suspect arrested hours after police step up patrols in Frenchwood
A Preston man has been arrested in connection with a series of burglaries in Frenchwood.
The 42-year-old was arrested yesterday evening, just hours after Lancashire Police responded to stinging criticism from the community over its handling of the incidents.
Frenchwood residents had raised concerns that police had not done enough in response to the spate of burglaries which has plagued the community since Christmas.
"People are saying the police haven't been responding fast enough", said one resident.
"The perception is the authorities are dragging their feet. Something needs to be done to reassure people."
Sharing their concerns with each other through a Whatsapp neighbourhood chat, the community decided to take measures to protect themselves.
On Tuesday, January 14, a number of residents began vigilantly patrolling the area.
At around 9.45pm, a 21-year-old man was assaulted in Frenchwood Avenue by a group of men.
Men were also seen using vehicles to block the road and challenge members of the public walking through the area.
Police swiftly attended the street and dispersed the group.
That same evening, neighbourhood police officers attended a community meeting at Jamea Mosque in Clarendon Street to discuss the issue.
Officers urged people "not to take the law into their own hands" and reassured those in attendance that officers were "working hard to address the issue".
Chief Inspector Gary Crowe, of Preston Police: “While we recognise that people want to protect the area where they live, I would ask people not to take the law into their own hands in response but to report concerns or information to the police.
"And we would like to reassure people that we are working hard to address the issue following concerns being raised."
Police pledged to step up patrols in the area and the next day (Wednesday, January 16), a team of mounted police were part of a high visibility patrol in the area.
Just hours later, a 42-year-old suspect was arrested in connection with a series of burglaries.
A police spokesman said: "Preston Police is continuing to work closely with the community in the Frenchwood area of the city following a number of burglaries.
"Neighbourhood officers have met with community leaders to discuss the issue and after feedback from those present and other members of the community affected by the burglaries, measures have been put in place to increase police engagement with the community, offer more support to victims and offer a more visible police presence."
Chief Inspector Gary Crowe, of Preston Police, added: “We recognise the concern that the burglaries are causing in the community and I would like to reassure residents we are working hard to address those concerns. We will continue to work closely with our partners across the community.
“If you see anything suspicious, please call police on 101 or report it to police online.
“If a crime is in progress, please call 999."
Anyone who has information about those responsible for these burglaries can report it anonymously via Crimestoppers, calling 0800 555 111.