A butcher and his sons are stopping criminals with their own hands after a spate of thefts and break-ins in their town have left people frightened to be in their own homes.
Mick Green decided to take action after repeated anti-social behaviour and burglaries, including a young family who had their Christmas presents and cars stolen by criminals.
He blamed the escalating crime rates on cuts to policing and said people are ‘sick of it’ so he felt forced to step in.
Mick said: ‘I’m not knocking the police or what they do, but there was a problem and in the end, people get sick of it’
‘I understand everything is stretched now and there just isn’t the money there.
‘It’s only a really small minority of people making people’s lives a misery, and the majority are living in fear of them. We think that should be the other way round.’
Along with his sons Ryan and Adam, Mick has recruited a team of dedicated locals in Loftus, North Yorkshire, who sacrifice their sleep in order to patrol the streets.
Working in shifts, the group drive slowly around every street in the town with the aim of preventing crime before it happens.
Since their patrols began over the festive period, Mick says he’s not heard of any further reports of break-ins.
He said: ‘It’s maybe that the message is getting out there, or people have been locked up, but we’ve not seen much going on.
‘We’ve had times when we’ve driven round a street in the middle of the night and seen people scatter – you wonder what people are doing hanging round outside houses on a night.
‘We just look round the streets and round the alleys, making sure nobody is doing anything they shouldn’t be.
‘We’ve not had to do anything more than that yet.’
Mick added: ‘If we saw something happening, we’d restrain them and call the police.
‘My son works in security so we have some experience there.’
Cleveland Police have urged volunteers to leave it to the professionals – but have said they understand those involved in community patrols have ‘the best intentions’.
In November, Cleveland Police Chief Constable Mike Veale said police cuts had gone too far and the service is ‘nowhere near where it needs to be’.
The force has lost £25.5 million from its budget since 2010 and has more than 500 fewer officers on the street.