Police are deploying plain clothes officers in a bid to combat rising burglary figures in Melksham.

In the year from December 2011 to November 2012, 49 domestic burglaries were reported, a rise of 15 on the same period from 2010 to 2011.

Non-domestic burglaries, which include thefts from sheds and garages, have increased by 44, with 135 separate thefts reported in 2012.

Police Inspector Lisette Harvey said: “The people behind these break-ins leave behind them a trail of damage and law-abiding property owners are left angry, upset and very frustrated.

“We want those thieves to know that we are on to them and my teams will be doing everything in their power to stop these crimes.

“We have identified our potential top 10 offenders and my staff will concentrate on trying to disrupt them lawfully, by random stop checks and carrying out warrants, and we will make arrests, if we have enough evidence.

“Those people know what they are doing and we have had to target them in a different way, with patrols at night and deploying plain clothes officers.

“We need people in the community to come forward with information, so that we can continue to build an intelligence picture on those who engage in stealing from garages or sheds.”

Acknowledging the rise in burglaries last year, Inspector Harvey also noted that the crime rate had started to drop in recent weeks.

She said: “Fortunately, over the last week, it has tailed off.”

Speaking at the Melksham Area Board meeting last Wednesday, Sgt Shaun Brady, of the Melksham neighbourhood policing team, suggested the decline was partly due to the arrest of one man who was well known to the police.

Although declining to confirm this, Inspector Harvey did acknowledge the recent conviction of a man from Melksham had coincided with a fall in reports of burglaries.

She said: “One man went to court last week for handling stolen goods. We know that he has been in prison for a number of weeks, which may be one of the reasons.”

Despite the increased publicity of these raids, many break-ins are still taking place at unsecured or unlocked premises.

Wiltshire Police has advised all homeowners to keep valuable items out of view and to make sure all doors, windows and external buildings are kept locked.

To report a crime, or to ask for security advice, households can call the neighbourhood policing team on 101.