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Yule be sorry - Islington’s top cop issues Christmas warning

Islington's Borough Commander Gerry Campbell Pic: Dieter Perry Islington's Borough Commander Gerry Campbell Pic: Dieter Perry

Thursday, December 19, 2013
6:52 AM

Islington’s top cop has fired off a yuletide warning to heartless thieves who target homes during the festive period ahead of a series of Christmas morning raids.

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Borough commander Det Ch Sup Gerry Campbell has a message for crooks who burgle houses and steal people’s presents they face a visit from the strong arm of the law rather than Santa on December 25.

The plan – part of a London-wide operation dubbed Winter Nights – includes more officers on the streets throughout the December and advising people to keep their presents out of sight, but in Islington the focus will be very much on the criminal Scrooge’s who ruin other people’s Christmas with their crimes.

Dawn raids

Starting at dawn, raids will take place across the borough on Christmas Day - as well as Boxing and New Year’s Days. A spokesman for Islington Police said the station would have “plenty of microwave turkey dinners for those arrested.”

Det Chf Sup Campbell said: “When they are sitting down for their Christmas dinner and they are wanted by us, they need to know we are coming for them. These are horrible individuals, stealing from other people at Christmas time.

“We didn’t want to be here on Christmas day and New Year’s Day saying ‘I told you so’. So our absolute focus leading up to the festive period has been crime prevention. But we will be heading out first thing Christmas morning to catch those who have committed crimes.”

Burglary from homes and business are down from the same period last year and despite four homicides and two high profile knife murder trials – over the killings of Andrew Jaipaul and Derek Boateng – violence against the person is down by around 350 attacks.

The police chief said: “Absolutely we are making headway and we will continue with our approach to tackling gangs. The fact is we had a number of notable successes with gang members, either for homicide, assault or drug dealing – a number of individuals affiliated with gangs are currently in prison.

“But we will not be complacent. We will continue to target gang members and the areas they operate. Whenever you have an organised group of offenders put away you worry about a vacuum. Part of that is competition in the gang structure and the money made from drug dealing.

“It’s also about power and control. There is no room for complacency from anybody and we have our foot firmly on the pedal.”

The scourge of smart phone snatches which have plagued Islington remain “one of our absolute priorities” said Det Ch Sup Campbell. Personal robbery is down by around 200 incidents on last year.

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