THE WADEBRIDGE and Padstow area could see more police officers drafted in to combat escalating crime.
It follows the latest shake-up in police restructuring and the departure of present sector inspector Ian Drummond-Smith, who will move to Plymouth as a chief inspector.
However, it remains unclear whether Wadebridge and Padstow will stay in a policing sector with Newquay, or, like Bodmin, will have an inspector covering an area stretching to Bude and Launceston.
Mr Drummond-Smith leaves his post next week, and has recommended that five extra officers should be drafted into Wadebridge.
He said: "Wadebridge has seen an increase in crime, the only offence that has seen a reduction is shoplifting by 8 per cent.
"Although Wadebridge has a strong team of officers with four PCs, four PCSOs and Sgt Robin Moorcroft, I have recommended that it should have another five officers, covering all aspects of policing to help."
He said a spate of house burglaries in the Rock area at Easter was a main contributing factor to the increase in offences. He said: "There was a group targeting second homes in the area, which has stopped now, but added to the increase in our crime figures. Arrests were made but nobody was charged due to lack of evidence.
"We do still have continuing issues with burglaries so would ask people to make sure that their properties are secure and would recommend that second homeowners install a monitored alarm, which will notify police as soon as it is triggered."
He said the main issue in Padstow was still street trading, adding: "We are currently seeking legal advice from the Government about what action we can take.''
Wadebridge Chamber of Commerce will be urging traders to purchase up to 30 CCTV cameras to combat a huge rise in retail shop burglaries over the past eight months, and chairman Dominic Walford said the extra police resources were needed.
"I am pleased that the police recognise that Wadebridge has certainly suffered from the lack of a real police presence in the past year.
"This is demonstrated by the huge rise in crime in the area with more break-ins in the past eight months than we had over the whole of the past five years.
"The current police team under Sergeant Moorcroft's guidance have been fantastic and are always going the extra mile to help, but they clearly need more help," said Mr Walford.
See Page 5 for Wadebridge CCTV story.