Bishops Cleeve villagers run own patrols after spate of burglaries

Patrols in Bishops Cleeve
Image caption There are 30 volunteers in the patrol

Volunteers have started their own security patrols in a Gloucestershire village after a spate of burglaries.

The community in Bishops Cleeve claims this has led to a drop in crime, which police have confirmed.

Gloucestershire Police said it supported their efforts but the residents needed to "know their limitations".

Patrol founder Paul New said: "We need to do this because we just want to protect our village."

The patrols were set up in December after burglaries in that month rose from six in 2017 to 12 in 2018.

Image caption Burglary victim Bernie Scarth said an offender burst into her bedroom wielding a plank of wood

The group, which has 30 members, now hopes to recruit more volunteers to expand the areas they cover.

Mr New said: "The police are not to blame.

"We completely respect what they are doing but they can't be everywhere at the same time - that is why we are here to help."

The patrols use an app to convert their phones to walkie-talkies to stay in touch during patrols.

Another app was used to collate evidence resulting in police seizing nine illegal vehicles.

'I feel safer'

Resident Peter Rowe, 83, said: "Gone are the days when you saw policemen walking up and down this street.

"I feel safer that they're out there patrolling the streets."

Ch Insp Rich Pegler said: "We wouldn't be against but what I would say is work with your local neighbourhood policing team to understand what your limitations are.

"We are trained police - members of the public aren't. Any well-intentioned member of our communities can report anything suspicious to us at any time whether they're acting individually or as a group."

Gloucestershire Police is hoping to raise its share of the council tax bill by £2 so it can increase its resources for the next financial year.

Image caption Patrol members use an app to convert their phones to walkie-talkies so they can stay in touch

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