Police in the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire areas are carrying out a crackdown on illegal scrap collectors.
Patrols are being carried out in local areas to check vans and vehicles that are carrying scrap are road worthy, legal and licensed to carry waste.
It is in response to ongoing concerns by residents about people taking items from gardens and yards without permission, and without knowing for sure they are no longer wanted or needed.
Officers are also appealing for people to share any information they have about potential illegal scrap collectors or suspicious activity in their neighbourhood.
PC Chris Wells-Jackson, who is part of the Shirebrook Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, and is the main lead in the long-term operation, said: “We do get people reporting thefts when items which have been left out, including youngsters bicycles or metal items in particular, have been taken off their garden without anyone asking the owner’s permission.
“Residents have also told us that they feel concerned and suspicious about people with vans driving around their neighbourhoods and seemingly looking onto properties for items which have been left outside.”
“The operation is all about targeting this issue, responding to the concerns of the public, preventing and disrupting any criminal activity and also taking action when it is necessary, from checking that they have any legal waste carrying licences, that any items they are carrying have been collected legitimately and also that their vehicle is safe and road legal.”
PC Wells-Jackson said: “Numerous vehicles have been seized and taken off the road for offences, and collectors reported or arrested when other offences have been found.
“That being said we are continuing to encourage residents to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this type of crime by not leaving items in front gardens or yards, and to ensure that any ground floor windows or doors are closed and preferably locked. Please also speak to your children and ask them to keep their bikes out of sight when they’re not using them, as these items can sadly be targeted causing upset for youngsters and potentially extra costs to replace for parents.”
To report suspicious activity to Derbyshire police call 101, or online through the Contact Us page of the website by clicking here, except in an emergency or if a crime is in progress when you should always dial 999.