OPERATION Lancelot has succeeded because of the determination of various agencies and organisations to work together.

Under the umbrella of the Sedgefield Partnership, members of the Burglary Action Group have been working to reduce burglaries.

The group includes the police, county and borough council, Neighbourhood Watch, youth offending teams, probation service, victim support, 3 Rivers Housing, Diversity Incorporating Safer Communities (Disc) and The Northern Echo.

Crime prevention initiatives during the operation have included the Nominated Neighbour Scheme, intended to cut down on burglaries committed by bogus callers.

It works by residents nominating a neighbour to check the credentials of callers to their homes.

Support for victims has been an important element of the operation, a recognition of the devastating effect crime can have.

Judith Tuck, manager for Disc, said: "We continue to work in partnership in Sedgefield borough to reduce burglary and we have assisted in securing almost 2,500 homes.

"The effects on victims can be far reaching and successful initiatives like this one can have many benefits for the public."

The police intelligence unit has played a vital role, involving collating, processing and distributing information, identifying areas most at risk and the vulnerable times.

Scientific support has also been crucial, with Crime Scene Investigators providing important forensic evidence for police colleagues.

The success of the operation has depended on partners co-operating and the support of the public has also been vital.

Jayne Chaytor, Sedgefield borough crime and disorder manager, said: "Community consultation has clearly indicated the concerns of the residents regarding burglary and the fear it generates.

"This operation has delivered a consistent and significant reduction across the borough."