THERE were dramatic scenes this morning as police raided properties across Teesside in a crackdown on festive crime.

Suspected offenders were arrested and taken away in police vans as Cleveland Police sent almost 100 officers out to round up burglars and thieves, and handlers and receivers of stolen goods.

In total, 16 men between the ages of 17 and 29 were arrested (Wednesday December 19), A further 12 arrests were made as part of the operation by officers in Redcar and Cleveland yesterday. All those arrested are currently in police custody where they are helping with enquiries.

A 20-year-old man who was arrested at a property on Holly Street in Middlesbrough for the theft of a motor vehicle kept his head down and showed no reaction as he was driven away by police. A motorcycle, believed to be stolen, was recovered from the house.

Other arrests include a 26-year-old from Brambles Farm who was arrested for burglary dwelling and a 24-year-old from Berwick Hills arrested for theft from a person. Six men in Stockton were also arrested for offences of burglary.

The operation was considered to have been a “great success” by Cleveland Police.

Acting Superintendant Dave Lamplough said: “The message to criminals is that if they persist in stealing and handling stolen property, our efforts will be relentless in preventing and disrupting that activity.

“Secondly, we want to ensure people are aware that they should lock doors and windows in their homes when they go out and should not leave presents in view under the Christmas tree as this will encourage thieves.”