Officers ask for residents' help as crime rate soars

PUBLISHED: 02:40 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:29 24 May 2010

CRIME in Cheddar and Shipham has more than doubled in recent months and according to police, criminals are travelling down to the area to target tourists. The number of incidents of all crime has risen from 180 last year to 305 this year. Criminal damage

CRIME in Cheddar and Shipham has more than doubled in recent months and according to police, criminals are travelling down to the area to target tourists. The number of incidents of all crime has risen from 180 last year to 305 this year.Criminal damage has risen to 53 reported incidents, 22 more than last year, while common assault has risen by 15 to 22 incidents since April 2006. Most crime happens during May, June, July and August, when Cheddar alone attracts over five million tourists. Sergeant Pete Yensen of Cheddar police said: "Tourists in summer attract criminals to Cheddar. The criminals travel down with the tourists because people seem to be more relaxed when they are on holiday."Sgt Yensen said the village's worst problem is vehicle crime. "The figures say there are 53 reported criminal damage incidents, but I would guess the actual figure is more than double that. Some criminal damage goes unreported because people think it is too small for police to deal with, or we won't be able to do anything about it," he added."I would urge anyone to report an incident, large or small. We need to know where the problems are and if there is a particular area or time when crime happens a lot."The only crimes to have gone down since last year are non-domestic burglaries, which have gone down from 22 incidents to 19, and harassment, which has fallen from 12 incidents to nine. The two villages have more police presence on the street, with the introduction of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Cheddar Police Station now has four, who cover Cheddar, Shipham and surrounding areas such as Axbridge and Wedmore.Sgt Yensen said: "I think more crime is now being reported because people see officers out on the street. Residents approach them and tell them about problems they've had. I don't think we have had a dramatic increase in crime. I think people now feel more comfortable about coming forward.

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