A police operation to tackle burglaries has seen the number of offences plunge by more than 40 per cent in Bradford.

The five-day blitz across West Yorkshire, in which every vehicle bearing the Force insignia was used, saw a 33 per cent reduction in burglaries county-wide.

In the Bradford district, there were 35 dwelling house burglaries in the five days to last Sunday – compared to 59 in the same five-day period last year.

During Operation Venom, which involved five days of intensive police activity on the county’s roads, 25 vehicles were seized – mostly for being driven without insurance.

Six stolen vehicles were recovered and officers are now trying to reunite them with their rightful owners.

Throughout the county, 23 people were arrested for offences including burglary, robbery, money laundering and theft.

Three burglary suspects were arrested in Bradford by Deputy Chief Constable Dee Collins, who was out on patrol with a Roads Crime Team unit. They spotted a suspicious vehicle, which was then abandoned in Gain Lane and the three suspects detained nearby.

Operation Venom formed part of West Yorkshire Police’s Viper initiative, which sees additional resources being used to target the county’s most prolific criminals.

More than 400 people were stopped by officers and in excess of 520 vehicles checked on police systems.

In a first for West Yorkshire Police, all vehicles with the Force’s insignia were sent out, tripling the normal deployment of police vehicles on the county’s road network.

Senior managers and special constables supplemented advanced police drivers in order to crew more than 60 vehicles which included cars, vans, 4x4 vehicles and motorbikes.

Superintendent Pat Casserly, who led the operation, said: “This was a highly visible and highly effective operation which helped us to further drive down crime and burglary across Bradford and West Yorkshire.

“Our aim was to get as many vehicles out there as possible and transfer the fear of crime onto the criminals themselves. We’ve done that and the figures back up the difference this operation has made.

“We were determined to protect communities from the trauma of burglary.

“In simple terms this operation has meant that more than 66 homes in the county still have Christmas presents under their roof.

“The burglary reduction we achieved in Bradford was significant and demonstrates that deploying large numbers of officers in a targeted, focussed way is effective and successful, and there is every reason for us to maintain this style of operation to protect our communities."