Published: 13:12, 23 April 2019
| Updated: 14:19, 23 April 2019
Undercover police officers are cracking down on vandals causing misery to car owners across Canterbury.
Plain clothes patrols have been deployed to the city's streets in a bid to end a spate of smashed car windows, which saw 17 reports of criminal damage or theft against vehicles made in just five days between April 8 and 12.
The costly crime spree has led to officers launching a "special operation", which also includes more visible patrols, to identify those responsible.
Announcing the move, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said he shared residents' concerns over the spike in criminal damage, which has resulted in items ranging from small amounts of loose change to expensive dashcam equipment being stolen.
"I share the concerns of all and tasked my office to establish from the local District Commander, Chief Inspector Mark Weller, what the situation is," he said.
"I am informed local officers have implemented a high number of bespoke responses to these crimes.
"These involve high visibility patrols as well as plain clothes patrols. In addition, investigators are ensuring that any lines of enquiry are identified and followed up."
City council leader Simon Cook says he is "glad the police are taking the outbreak of criminal damage across the city seriously".
"Having people going around, smashing car windows is completely unacceptable and I look forward to seeing the perpetrators brought before the courts and sentenced," he continued.
"I appreciate the work the Police and Crime Commissioner is doing and I welcome moves which will see a greater, visible police presence across the whole district - particularly those aimed at combating violence, burglary and theft."
Police have urged residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity seen around cars.
Anyone with information should call 01843 222289 quoting reference 46/64330/19.