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Residents to use hi-tech weapon in fight against crime

AN E-MAIL system is set to become the latest weapon in the fight against crime in Accrington.

AN E-MAIL system is set to become the latest weapon in the fight against crime in Accrington.

Police are encouraging more people to get involved in the scheme, which uses e-mails to update residents on community news and crime prevention tips.

Under the initiative, which has been co-ordinated by Sergeant Claire Holbrook of Accrington Police, officers send out weekly bulletins to around 40 residents' association officers and other community leaders, who then distribute the information to people in the area.

Twenty e-mail phones have also been given to those who do not have their own access to e-mail and the Internet but who want to get involved.

The scheme was originally launched throughout Eastern Division - which includes Hyndburn, the Ribble Valley and Black-burn - but it did not reach its full potential due to a lack of interest.

But Sergeant Holbrook is hopeful that the initiative will be of use to residents in the Accrington area.

She said: "We want to get as much information out to residents as possible and the more people we can reach out to from the community, the better.

"The bulletins give information about crime prevention and crime trends. At the moment, we're warning people about "fishing-rod" burglaries, where people fish through the letterbox to steal residents' keys, and leaving property unattended in vehicles. They also tell people about drugs initiatives and warrants we have executed in their areas. And as it's a two-way system, they can e-mail me about any problems they have."

She added that the scheme had been made possible by a donation from the West Accrington Residents' Association, which raised £1,000 for the computer used for sending the e-mails.

She said: "We're hoping to expand the system and we have received funding for a lot more e-mail phones - I have got 40 on order at the moment. We would like to hear from residents' associations and councillors who don't have access to e-mail but want to get involved."

Inspector Phil Cottam said: "This is an excellent way in which we can keep members of the community fully up to date on what is going on in their communities and crime prevention advice. I would like to thank all the people who have participated and I hope we can get more people involved in the near future."

Sergeant Holbrook can be contacted on 353751.


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