THURROCK is beginning to win the war against burglars and thieves.

That’s the message from the borough’s police commander Ben Hodder who proudly revealed rovbberies are down 20 percent year-on-year The Chief Inspector also told how particular focus on burglary and vehicle crime was paying dividends too.

He told how police had been working closely with second hand shops, such as Cash Convertors, to identify stolen goods passed on by burglars and officers had been keeping closely tabs on known criminals.

He said: “Some of the things we have put in place seem to be working. It’s important not to be complacent, but things are moving in the right direction - it’s encouraging.”

Latest stats for the period between April 2013 and November 2013 - when compared with the same period last year - show: *Home burglaries are down 12.1 per cent - from 478 recorded offences to 544 *Vehicle crime is down 11.7 per cent - from 1,350 offences last year to 1,192 this year.

At the beginning of November, nine burglaries were reported in Stanford-le-Hope and Corringham in just three days.

Police reacted by upping patrols.

Mr Hodder said: “We have a dedicated burglary team for Thurrock who are actively patrolling, stopping and searching where appropriate powers exist and arresting offenders. “They actively target suspects.”

Last week, the Gazette reported how police have begun using council street cleaners to be there “eyes and ears”.

This was Mr Hodder’s idea too and early indications are the operation, dubbed Insight, is having positive results.

These figures are particularly pleasing, too, for the force’s senior officers in Thurrock, many of whom live in the borough.

East Thurrock Inspector Lee Argent said: “While it’s not all about figures, these tell us we’re doing something right.

“Don’t forget we live in Thurrock too, so not only does it make it more personal, but we know the local issues as well.”

Police have also enjoyed success at Lakeside retail park, finally getting a grip on cruisers.

A meet last week was the first in more than three months.

Working closely with the Highways Agency, the retail park operator Land Securities and businesses on the park, police have clamped down on the persistent problem of boy racers.

Angie Gaywood, the council’s lead on public protection, believes things are improving.

She said: “The reductions in reported crime are great to see and show how effectively police in Thurrock have been working, particularly with the council and other members of the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership.

“Such a fall in the number of crime victims, especially from burglaries, in the run-up to Christmas is fantastic!”

“The partnership has been very successful in supporting various anti-crime initiatives – in Stanford-le-Hope, Corringham and Grays most recently, these include hate crime and violence against women.”

And now as Christmas fast approaches, police are focusing on shop lifters too having launched their eleventh annual operation at Lakeside shopping centre.

Mr Hodder said: “Crime is very low at Lakeside so this is more precautionary than reactionary, it's just about keeping people safe. It will look at preventing everything from stealing from vehicles to stealing from people.”