Crime families who make a living by breaking in to other people’s homes could be kicked out of their own in an eye-for-an-eye crackdown launched by police in Leeds.
In what is thought to be the first initiative of its kind in the country, known burglars and robbers living in council housing are being given letters threatening them with eviction if they refuse to clean up their act.
Relatives who turn a blind eye could also be turfed out.
Chief Supt David Oldroyd, who leads work on burglary in Leeds, said: “We are trying to break the cycle of families that have burgled their own communities for a number of generations.
“These people need to realise they cannot simply come out of prison and restart their old criminal habits without far-reaching consequences.
“There are also a number of families who are simply turning a blind eye to criminal activity being perpetrated by one or a number of family members. That simply wont be tolerated.”
Although burglary rates in Leeds have fallen by nearly a third in the last year, the city continues to have some of the worst statistics in the country.
Police said, as well as burglars, tenancy enforcement action would be taken against those guilty of handling stolen
goods, stealing cars – or stealing from cars – and drug dealing.
The crackdown could hit tenancy holders who knowingly support family members or fellow residents charged with such crimes. Forty of the warnings were delivered yesterday.
All major housing providers, including West North West Homes, Leeds Federated Housing and Leeds Social Housing are supporting the scheme.
Stephen Barry, antisocial behaviour manager for Leeds Federated Housing Association, said: “This type of action sends a strong message to those whose criminal behaviour impacts upon their neighbours and other nearby residents that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Coun Peter Gruen, chairman of the Safer Leeds Partnership, added: “Burglary is a totally unacceptable blight on communities in Leeds, causing unnecessary pain and suffering to all those affected. Initiatives such as this should send a clear message to those who carry out burglaries, handle stolen goods or benefit from the proceeds of these crimes that the repercussions could be significant.
“They should think again before getting involved.”