A campaign has been launched to urge people to protect their neighbourhoods by telling Crimestoppers who in their area buys stolen goods.
When a thief such as a burglar steals, they will want to sell the item on – typically to fund a drug habit.
People who buy or move stolen goods are known as handlers and these are the key to fuelling theft and similar crime in our neighbourhoods.
In conjunction with Crimestoppers, Derbyshire Constabulary has launched a campaign across the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales to highlight the consequences of having a handler within your neighbourhood.
Safer Neighbourhood Teams across the area have been putting up posters on the subject, while a bus advertising and video campaign also highlights the problem. Adverts on Facebook will also be introduced throughout the operation.
The aim is to advise members of the public about the dangers of buying stolen goods and how detrimental that can be to themselves and their neighbourhood.
Sergeant Steve Johnson, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “Buying stolen goods is often seen as a victimless crime but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“If you are offered a laptop or a power tool, for example, then somewhere out there is a victim of a burglary or theft from a motor vehicle.
“A thief operates in a safe market with a network of friends or acquaintances he can sell to. Not only are these handlers profiting, but they also cause thieves and drug users to frequent our neighbourhoods.”
The campaign, which started on Monday, December 17, involves the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership, which is made up of organisations including the police and the two local authorities.
It is hoped that the campaign will also encourage people to report others of selling or buying stolen goods to the Crimestoppers charity and this can be done anonymously.
Sgt Johnson said: “Buying stolen goods is anything but a victimless crime – and the best way to avoid becoming a victim yourself is by refusing to buy.
“If the community can help us dismantle these stolen goods markets together we will see a fall in theft type crime within our neighbourhoods.
“This is not a new concept; in fact, a very old quote by a magistrate called Patrick Colquhoun, who said that without a safe and ready market, a thief is undone. That’s what we want to achieve.
“So if you know items are stolen then no matter how good the deal may seem, just say no. That simple refusal might just prevent someone becoming a victim of crime.”
If you know of anyone who sells or buys stolen goods, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. It is completely anonymous and calls cannot be traced in any way.
Alternatively, you can call Derbyshire police on the non-emergency number 101 or, in an emergency, 999.