HOUSE burglaries across a Teesside town are the lowest recorded.

There was a 51 per cent fall in home burglaries in Middlesbrough last month, the first time - using crime statistics - that there were less than 100 addresses targeted.

Detective Superintendent Stewart Swinson, of Middlesbrough Police, said: "House burglary is an offence which can devastate homeowners. Not only do they lose valuable property, but sentimental items can be also be lost. It makes all the difference in the quality of life to people in our town and I am delighted with these figures."

He attributed the figures to working in partnership with other agencies, including Middlesbrough Council street wardens and to high profile crackdowns such as Operation Sabre swoops on known criminals.

He said: "We also think it is our specific policy of targeting prolific offenders, concentrating our efforts on those people who are offending time and time again. This is a relatively small hard core of people, who are committing a significant amount of offences."

He said police were also uncovering false burglary reports made to get insurance money and which could account for upwards of ten per cent of reported break-ins.

A 40 per cent fall has been recorded in the number of robberies.

Det Supt Swinson said: "We have no intention of letting our guard down and by targeting our known criminals, with the help or our partners we have shown we can drive down crime."

Councillor Barry Coppinger, executive member of Middlesbrough Council with responsibility for public safety in the town, said: "This is excellent news and an incentive to step up our efforts and our vigilance to get these figures down even further.

"The police, the council and other agencies are working in a co-ordinated way to ensure that we maximise all our crime fighting and crime prevention resources and the results are beginning to come through."

Vehicle crime, violence and sexual offences have not fallen. The number of sex crimes had risen because victims were more willing to come forward and report incidents.

But in all, there were 2,020 offences recorded in Middlesbrough during last month, compared to 2,144 last year - 124 fewer victims of crime.