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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 07:25 GMT
Spy cameras catch burglars
CCTV footage of a burglar
This burglar was jailed after being caught on CCTV
Homes in the West Midlands are being fitted with secret cameras in an attempt to catch burglars in the act.

The scheme has already been successfully piloted in Coventry and is now being extended across the whole of the West Midlands Police area.

It involves a tiny, infrared camera being installed in the homes of serial burglary victims.

Home Office research shows many offenders return to the original target within a short time because only makeshift repairs have been carried out or the householder has replaced all of the stolen goods.

'Almost invisible'

The cameras can be easily hidden inside objects so they are undetectable to burglars.

Travel wallet
The cameras can be placed in everyday objects
Four burglars have already been caught and convicted as a result of the cameras during the scheme's pilot phase.

Superintendent Peter Goodman said: "The cameras are so small they are almost invisible to the naked eye.

"Hopefully, by installing these cameras in the most vulnerable properties, we will be able to catch thieves 'in the act'.

"The most susceptible homes and those most likely to be subject of repeat break-ins are those which are exposed and have little evidence of home security."

The spy-camera is the latest initiative from Operation Safe Homes, a force-wide operation set up to reduce burglary.

Since its launch in October last year, there has been a fall of 25% in the number of houses burgled.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Robert Hall
"Senior officers believe the results more than justify the costs"
Royce Farr, Warwick University
"It has been extremely successful"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online

Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
See also:

25 Nov 02 | England
13 Nov 02 | England
28 Oct 02 | England
12 Oct 02 | Wales
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