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POLICE recovered £90,000 worth of stolen carvans near Stranraer over the Easter break.

The find came during an operation which focused on caravan crime and caravan safety.

Operation Breakaway took place in the force's Galloway Division during Easter weekend and led to the identification of seven stolen caravans.

The operation involved officers from the Mobile Support Group, Ports Unit and colleagues from ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, which included a Leisure Vehicle representative. Staff took part in high visibility checks in the Ports at Stranraer and Cairnryan, as well as on the busy A75 and A77 roads.

Community Police Officers, Crime Reduction Officers, Special Constables and representatives from Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service visited every caravan park in Galloway division over the course of two days, issuing crime prevention, personal safety, and fire safety advice to the public.

Sergeant Stewart McColm of the Galloway Crime Reduction and Community Safety Department said: "All of the stolen caravans identified during this operation had been stolen from elsewhere in the UK and ended up in our region.

"This initiative was primarily aimed at forging closer links with the caravan parks in our area. We also hoped to raise caravan crime awareness amongst the public.

"As many as 1400 touring style caravans are stolen in the UK each year, with many being sold on to unsuspecting members of the public, or being placed by the thieves on a semi permanent basis in caravan sites around the country in an effort to avoid detection.

"While Dumfries and Galloway is one of the safest places in the United Kingdom to holiday or stay in, we would be naive not to acknowledge the potential for criminals to try and exploit our largely rural area and the large number of caravan parks we have.

"From a community policing point of view, the feedback and co-operation we received from the caravanning public and site operators was exceptional. A number of people commented on the fact that their own home police forces should consider similar projects, and the success of the initiative is something that we are keen to build on in the future. The recovery of so many stolen caravans was very much the icing on the cake".

Anyone who wishes further advice is urged to contact their local Crime Reduction Officer on 0845 600 5701.

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