THE mayor of Ringwood has called for action to deter “criminals who cause so much heartache to the community” following a spate of burglaries in the area.

Eleven burglaries have been reported to Hampshire Constabulary in the New Forest with four taking place over the weekend.

Police say they will be boosting efforts to stamp out rural crime by increasing resources as part of a specialist operation.

Mayor Tony Ring said the multiple break-ins were a “matter of great concern”, adding: “We seem to be suffering the spectrum of criminality from the pathetic but no less troublesome amateur to the career professional thief, all of whom share the same lack of respect for policing and absence of fear for any consequence through the justice system.”

He said there was need to look at deployment of resources to frontline duties and reforms to the justice system “to address rather than appease miscreant behaviour” otherwise he feared that “we will continue to suffer increasing levels of criminality”. “We must therefore use every means available to press for action to deter or deal with the criminals who cause so much heartache to the community,” added Mr Ring.

The break-ins have been at residential as well as commercial properties, as well as garages. The break-ins have been in the Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Burley and Bransgore areas. In the most recent incidents commercial properties in Ringwood were targeted over the weekend, including the London Tavern, Linford Road, Poulner, the Railway Hotel on Hightown Road, Ringwood and Sainsbury’s on Meeting House Lane.

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The Inspector for the New Forest West district, Michael Minnock, said that police will be “increasing resourcing” including using specialist road policing officers along with new and existing technology to “bring those responsible to justice”.

These measures are part of Operation Bump, which the inspector said was to target the recent increase in cross-border burglaries where power tools and electric bikes are being targeted.

“These crimes have a significant impact on the local community especially during a pandemic. We are working with partners and neighbouring police forces to prevent further crime and identify potential offenders,” said Inspector Minnock.

“Rural crime is a force priority and we will continue to review all crimes and seek opportunities to prevent and detect these crimes. I ask that the community remains vigilant and reports all suspicious activity or criminality through the normal reporting channels.”

There was a burglary at Burley Lodge Stables between 6pm on Thursday (November 5) and 10am on Friday (November 6) and two at addresses on Lyndhurst Road, Burley between 12am and 3am on Friday (November 6) and between 6pm on Thursday (November 5) and 8.30am on Friday (November 6).

There was also a break-in at an address on Burley Road, Bransgore between 6pm on Saturday (November 7) and 10am on Sunday (November 8). A number of garages were broken into at Burgate Court on Salisbury Road between 10pm and 11.15pm on Friday and at Renoir Burgate Court on Salisbury Road between 10.15pm and 11pm on Friday. Further burglaries were reported at an address on Gorley Road, Ringwood on Thursday and an address on Green Lane on Friday.

A neighbourhood alert issued by police said: “We are warning residents to be on their guard following a number of burglaries across the New Forest, specifically those living in the Ringwood area.“The burglaries happened at various times throughout this period, largely affecting residential properties, but there were also instances of commercial properties also being targeted. It was mostly power tools and other small items that were stolen and as part of this, we are investigating.”