Harbour thefts boost crime figures

PCSO Sam Slater and PCSO Mike McGauley at Axmouth harbour where thefts from boats was a major probl

PCSO Sam Slater and PCSO Mike McGauley at Axmouth harbour where thefts from boats was a major problem last year - Credit: Archant

Police say opportunist thieves were a problem last year

Annual crime figures released for Seaton town show a slight increase in offences last year with criminal damage continuing to top the list.

Police investigated 228 reported incidents, marginally up on 2013 but still the fourth lowest yearly total and well below the long term average of 333 crimes.

Officers stress that two offenders were responsible for 15, or six per cent, of the crimes total, many of these crimes being ‘public order’ offences.

Although criminal damage continues to be the most prolific offence it is still below the long term average.

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Other key points noted by the neighbourhood beat team were:

• In 123 (53 per cent) of crimes, a suspect was identified.

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• Crime is down 48 per cent from the peak in 2004.

• Burglary dwelling and burglary other well below the long term averages.

• Domestic incidents accounted for 14 per cent (33 incidents) of reported crime.

• Over the last two years there has been an increase in theft from shops and drive offs, a number of these offences being reported by Tesco, 17 (eight per cent) in 2014.

• There has been an increase in offences under the communications act, these type of offences tend to be ‘facebook’ of text messages causing alarm and distress to the recipient.

Meanwhile figures for the Seaton rural policing division show a big decrease in crime last year.

Overall the area, including Axmouth, Beer, Branscombe, Colyton, Farway, Northleigh, Rousdon and Combpyne and Southleigh - saw 137 reported crimes, this being the second lowest yearly total, down from a peak of 239 in 2004.

Key points noted by police were:

• August was unusually quiet with only two reported crimes and was the joint ever lowest monthly total. There were 18 crimes in December, mainly due to the eight crimes in Branscombe.

• Theft continues to be the top crime, many of these offences were thefts from boats in Axmouth harbour.

• There was a spate of theft from motor vehicles in the spring, especially in Axmouth and Branscombe. A number of suspects were arrested in Hampshire for similar offences since when there has been a big reduction in this type of offence.

• We have continued to see theft of boat equipment from Axmouth harbour.

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