BURGLARIES in Barnsley’s worst-hit area have more than halved following a six-month crackdown - and officers behind the project have told those responsible that the net will continue to close.

Goldthorpe - which has received more patrols from both Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police officers since the end of last year - was chosen due to its higher-than-average figures.

Incidents have reduced from 42 in December to 15 in May - and officers have vowed to continue their work in a bid to allay residents’ concerns.

Sergeant Paul Aston, from the Barnsley South East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Burglary and theft are very personal and invasive crimes.

“We will always seek to prosecute wherever we can and it is important to us to make sure victims are made to feel like they matter and are not just another crime number or just another statistic.

“We are targeting known offenders using a variety of methods to prevent reoffending, prevent offences from being committed and reducing the avenues through which stolen property can be disposed.

“Working alongside partners such as Barnsley Council, we are closing the net around those who intentionally impact the lives of the communities we serve.”

Response officers from the two organisations patrolled affected areas at peak times and their work was bolstered by plain-clothed colleagues, with visits to known previous offenders.

They spent 176 hours on proactive burglary patrols and arrested seven ‘prolific’ offenders.

Chief Inspector John Mallows, whose portfolio includes overseeing neighbourhood policing in Barnsley, added: “Goldthorpe was identified as one of the force priority crime hotspots for burglary.

“Through the work of the team, who are collaborating with a range of partners and stakeholders, we have seen a 64 per cent reduction in recorded burglary over the last six months.

“While there is still much work to do, the planned regeneration of the area will provide opportunities to further enhance community safety.”

Where two or more properties had been targeted on the same street in three months, notices were placed on the street and door-to-door visits were carried out, particularly by the council’s housing officers.

Coun Wendy Cain, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, praised the collaborative effort.

“We continue to join forces with our partners at South Yorkshire Police to make sure Goldthorpe and our boroughs remain a safe place.

“Our neighbourhood wardens have increased patrols and our dedicated housing and cohesion officer for the Dearne liaises regularly with landlords in this area.

“Police and Communities Together (PACT) meetings are also held regularly with partners from the Safer Neighbourhood Service and South Yorkshire Police to look at how we can work together to improve community safety.”

However, the force are attempting to increase conviction rates of burglaries, which just 6.9 per cent of perpetrators being charged last year.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Burglaries that do not result in a charge are a worry everywhere in the country.

“The reasons that burglaries are hard to detect are not hard to understand.

“Offenders know how to avoid leaving finger prints or DNA, they know that even where there is CCTV, if they wear a balaclava or pull the peak of their baseball cap down, and they can keep their face hidden from the camera.

“Detectives have to get smarter by building a picture - does this burglary fit a wider pattern? Are there known offenders in the area?

“And so on - if a case is going to be made we need to satisfy the Crown Prosecution Service and then the courts.”