RESIDENTS of Darlington’s Eastbourne Road believe visible policing and pulling together as a community will help in the battle against burglars.

At least five properties in the area have been targeted by thieves since January, with police unable to bring anyone to justice for the crimes.

The road, close to the heart of the town, is one of several places in County Durham where burglars have escaped prosecution in every case recorded in official statistics so far this year.

The Northern Echo: Ward councillor Darrien WrightWard councillor Darrien Wright

Ward councillor, Darrien Wright, lives and works on an adjacent street and was recently broken into.

He described it as a “violation” and said he is working with local residents, colleagues in the council and the police to arrange a meeting to discuss anti-social problems in the area.

Cllr Wright said: “Residents have brought this up as a concern after small businesses, including mine, were targeted.

“The police and local community were very supportive but I think we need to set something up where we can work as a big team to look out for everyone.”

Kathleen Cory has lived on Eastbourne Road all of her life and believes investment in police resources and more action to tackle the complexities that surround crime could help boost burglary detection rates.

The 76-year-old said more visible policing would act as a deterrent, adding: “Prison is not seen as a deterrent these days but perhaps more community work would make them think – if you’re out in public and people know what you’ve done, you’d be embarrassed.

“Burglary cases should be making it to court in every case but we just haven’t got the police, we used to have them walking up and down a lot but now hardly see them.

“Drugs are a big part of the problem, people are stealing to feed their addictions – I’d like to see more officers and more done to tackle drugs.”

Another long-time resident of the road, who declined to give her name, said: "I'm surprised that the figures for unsolved burglaries are as they are for Durham Constabulary, which is the most outstanding force in the country.

"If cases are closed and never get to court, I think it gives criminals free range.

"Many will say this is down to police cuts but I believe it's more of the broken window theory - if you deal with the small crimes like that, you deter people from committing the big ones.

"There's a great community spirit around here and we've had some excellent local police officers over the years but we're missing that a bit now, we don't see them on the street as much."

Residents interested in attending or learning more about Cllr Wright's intended meeting can email for information.