SPECIALIST officers have made 80 arrests since January in an anti-burglary crackdown.

Detective Superintendent Neil Matthews, leader of Operation Mexico, told homeowners at a public meeting that 16 specialist officers arrested suspects for 131 offences.

Mike Gapes, Labour MP for Ilford South, hosted the evening at Ilford Town Hall which saw attendees address the 52 per cent rise in burglaries in Redbridge from November 2017 to January 2018.

The rise prompted the launch of Operation Mexico, a specialist programme targeting organised groups thought to be causing the increase.

Det Supt Matthews said: “I would like to reassure residents that the police in Redbridge have a dedicated policing team tackling burglary and robbery.

“To date we have achieved phenomenal results working closely with our partners in bringing offenders to justice.

“There is more to do and it is important that members of the public continue to provide the police with information if they see or hear anything suspicious.

“I also want to remind communities of the importance of fully securing your property at all times.

“Never leave your property insecure even for the shortest period. Many burglars are opportunists who will not hesitate to enter your property if you give them a chance.”

The Labour-led council is investing £1.5 million in new high-tech CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras.

They are also creating a £50,000 community safety fund to support neighbourhood watch scheme.

Mr Gapes MP says: “This year, once again, the police will be facing a real terms cut in their funding, which will mean significant challenges.

“It is positive to see however that the actions being taken by the police locally and by Redbridge Council are beginning to take effect.”