This time of year sees a dramatic increase in the number of house burglaries - criminals are targeting properties to steal items bought for Christmas which they then sell on to the black economy. Today in Dorset the police launched a major festive crackdown on the crooks, as Martin Dowse reports.
Detectives investigating an aggravated burglary in Poole are appealing for witnesses and information after three men let themselves into a home and attacked a man and woman with metal bars.
The incident happened in the early hours of November 22 in Egmont Road.
A woman in her fifties and a man in his twenties suffered injuries as a result and required hospital treatment for head wounds.
Detective Constable James Taylor, of Bournemouth and Poole CID, said:
Following the attack the three offenders walked casually up Egmont Road toward South Haven Close.
One of the attackers had a local accent while another was wearing a dark coloured crash helmet with blue and red markings around the front.
Anyone with information should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 22:64, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Police are appealing for help to trace a missing 49-year-old man, who was last seen at his parents' home on Portland on November 7.
Paul Smith from Saltburn-by-the-Sea in Cleveland, was reported missing by his concerned parents after he left their home and said he was going to find somewhere to live in Bournemouth.
Paul is described as white, approximately 5ft 8" tall, with short neat brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a long dark brown coat with large pockets, grey chino-style trousers and light brown canvas shoes.
Concern is increasing for Paul. He left his parents’ home abruptly and had only the clothes he was wearing and a small amount of cash.
I urge Paul to get in touch as soon as possible – we simply need to know that he is safe and well.
Anyone with information as to Paul's whereabouts should call Dorset Police on 101 quoting incident number 12:129.
Dorset Police highlight problems with national 101 number:
"At this time the non-emergency number 101 is not working nationally. The operator is currently working to fix the problem. The emergency number 999 is not affected. Until the problem is fixed members of the public should use 01202/01305 222222 for non-emergency calls to Dorset Police."
Almost 100 guns have been handed in during an amnesty in Dorset.
Police said 31 handguns, 27 shotguns and five rifles were among the haul surrendered during a two week campaign - encouraging anyone with illegally held firearms to have them disposed of safely.
More than 300 firearms were handed in during a previous amnesty in Dorset in 2003.
The weapons turned in included starting guns, BB guns, air weapons, shotguns, pistols and rifles. Ammunition was also surrendered. Officers said the vast majority of the firearms were not being used for criminal activity.
Detectives in Poole have released details of a car they are trying to trace after an alleged serious assault in Sea View Road.
Police were called at around 10am on November 13 to the viewing point after reports that a man had been struck by a car and assaulted by several men from the same vehicle.
The 33-year-old victim from Poole sustained a leg injury and was taken to hospital for treatment.
The vehicle involved in the incident was described as a silver VW with the registration number GD14 ZXV. The car was hired from Europa in Liverpool in November.
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 13:102, or call Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
Detectives in Bournemouth are appealing for witnesses and information after a man was seriously assaulted in the town on November 16.
The 38-year-old victim left The Exchange bar in the Triangle at around 5.30am, when he was hit from behind and kicked several times in the face. He was taken to hospital for treatment.
Detective Constable Jo Regan, of Bournemouth CID, said: “As a result of the assault the victim received nasty facial injuries."
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 16:118, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses to come forward following an alleged serious assault in Poole. Police were called to the viewing point in Sea View Road following reports that a man had been struck by a car and assaulted by several men from the same vehicle. The car involved in the incident has been described as a silver VW, possibly a Golf or a Polo. The victim, a 33-year-old Poole man, sustained a leg injury and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Detective Sergeant Andy Roberts, of Bournemouth CID, said: “The incident happened in a busy area of Poole and I urge anyone who saw what happened to contact me"
Five men, aged in their 20s, have been arrested in the Avon and Somerset area on suspicion of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and are currently assisting police with their enquiries.
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
Officers are appealing for witnesses and information after a 16-year-old girl was robbed at a bus stop in the Merley area of Wimborne.
The teenager was waiting for a bus opposite Merley First School in Oakley Straight on the morning of Friday, November 7, when she was pushed to the ground twice causing her to hit her head.
The victim's red and pink headphones were stolen and she sustained bruises to her face and body
The offender is described as white, five feet six inches tall and of muscly build. He was wearing dark coloured jeans, a leather jacket, a dark coloured hooded top with the hood up and padded ski gloves.
This was a frightening attack on a teenage girl in broad daylight and fortunately she did not suffer more serious injuries.
I am keen to speak to anyone who may have seen this incident or has any information that can assist with the investigation. I urge witnesses and anyone with information to come forward as soon as possible.
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101 quoting incident number 7:199, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Officers in Christchurch are appealing for witnesses and information to after a burglary in the town.
The burglary happened some time between 5.15pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014 and 12.45pm on Friday 7 November 2014 at a home on Old Barn Road.
Two ornamental Royal Doulton trinket boxes and an old style briefcase were taken.
Police Constable Jim Perks, of East Dorset police, said:
I would urge anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area during this time to come forward as soon as possible.
I would also like to hear from anyone who has been offered such items for sale in strange circumstances or for an unusually low price.
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 07:201, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.