POLICE are launching a series of visits to second-hand shops in Hull in a bid to tackle people profiting from the handling of stolen goods.
Officers from Humberside Police’s D Division and its second-hand dealers team will be checking stock and inventory reports over the coming months.
Any property identified as stolen will be recovered and inquiries begun into the circumstances in which it came into the shop’s possession.
This will be done through the national online Immobilise database via property scanning devices Apollo and Hermes.
Pc Kathryn Rowbottom, second-hand dealers officer in Hull, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the division to drive down burglary and theft across the city, particularly in the run up to Christmas.
“Residents are actively encouraged to register their property via the Immobilise website, which is a free to use service which can be updated at any time with additional property details, any changes, and in the event of any registered item being lost or stolen.
“Any item with an identifiable number or marking can be added to an individual’s account, meaning that there really is no excuse for not having a record of their property.”
As part of the initiative, second hand shops will be encouraged to perform greater checks into the ownership of items being presented for sale and to contact the police about any items thought suspicious.
The specialist second-hand dealers roles were established after it was noted that high value items such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and bicycles were regularly stolen and sold on, often to fund drug habits or criminal activity.
Although these goods all have serial numbers or unique reference numbers, the amount of property recovered from thieves and house searches, far exceeds what is recorded on databases, which police staff and officers search to trace rightful owners.
The force is now urging residents who rent or own anything of value to record it on the Immobilise database so that any British force or registered dealer can check and trace it.
Pc Chris Hardy said: “It’s not just the second hand shops that have a responsibility regarding stolen goods.
“The public should also be aware of what they are buying from unregistered traders, such as those operating at the various car boot sales and markets across the region, as well as those people selling items door to door and via the internet.”
Anyone concerned about the provenance of items being offered for sale can call Humberside Police on the non-emergency number 101.