THIEVES who raided a Huddersfield house were caught on camera in a crafty police sting.
For Huddersfield is only the second area in West Yorkshire to notch up arrests in a new anti-burglary scheme called Capture House.
Police kit out a home in a burglary hotspot area with high technology surveillance equipment to catch the thieves on camera – and put items in the house that greedy burglars can’t resist.
But prolific thieves are getting a fair warning – a free DVD is being given to them showing a Capture House in action in a bid to put them off carrying out any more burglaries.
The project has been so successful in Huddersfield, other Capture Houses are now being set up throughout West Yorkshire.
Three men were arrested and charged after breaking into a Capture House in Deighton last week. They have been charged with burglary and another man has also been charged with receiving stolen goods.
Police also found the items stolen from the home.
Once inside a Capture House, intruders are monitored by concealed CCTV and exposed to a liquid-based, property-marking solution which can later identify them.
If this gets on their clothes or skin, it can be detected weeks later and the solution has a unique DNA code to that particular Capture House, linking the burglar to the scene of the crime.
Many of the Capture Houses are flats in large houses – often student accommodation – but can be used in any residential area that is being targeted by burglars.
The tactic will also be used in some offices and businesses.
Police are not saying exactly where the Capture Houses are, but they will put up highly visible signs in the areas where the scheme is operating to warn would-be intruders off.
The initiative follows the success of the Capture House pilot in Leeds last year, which led to burglars being arrested and prosecuted.
These have included a 23-year-old from Harehills in Leeds who was jailed for nine months at Leeds Crown Court after breaking into West Yorkshire Police’s first Capture House last December.
The Capture House programme will also complement a reinforced Neighbourhood Policing drive in West Yorkshire, which will involve local police and community support officers in a high visibility reassurance campaign to highlight the extensive efforts being made to reduce burglary.
Known offenders will also be visited and given a DVD showing footage of those caught in previous Capture Houses as a warning.
They will also be offered help if they are committing crime to fund serious drug habits.
Capture Houses follow a similar scheme targeting car criminals.
Under the Capture Car scheme, target vehicles were set up to entice thieves and resulted in many arrests and prosecutions across the whole of West Yorkshire over the past two years.
This tactic also contributed significantly to a reduction of almost 4,000 thefts from vehicles since April 2007, compared with the same period the year before.
Det Insp Patrick O'Neill, from Huddersfield CID, said: "We are delighted by the success of the Kirklees Capture House as it acts as warn to burglars that there is nowhere to hide.
“We are going to continue Capture House operations in this area following this success in which we arrested three known offenders and also recovered a substantial amount of property which has been stolen in burglaries.”
He added: "Burglary is an attack on the homes of people who have worked hard to save for their new purchases and burglars need to realise they do not have the right to enter them.
"I am looking for residents in our area to take a stand and put the fear of crime back onto the offender by contacting us.’’
Phone police on 0845 6060606 or in confidence via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Det Insp O’Neill added: "The message is simple – if you have committed a burglary, expect a call from Kirklees CID."