POLICE in Blackwood have scored a major victory in their battle against drug-fuelled car thieves in an operation resulting in 12 arrests.

Operation Shatter, a zero tolerance crackdown on car crime, launched in May, has seen detection rates soar by 47 per cent.

Detective Constable Alec Webley, from Blackwood CID, who co-ordinated the operation, said although the operation was a success, the war was still to be won.

"We are very pleased with the way the operation has gone but we won't be enti-rely happy until we have completely eradicated the problem.

"We will be running another operation in the future to target car thieves and we will keep on targeting them."

As a result of the operation, the detection rate for theft from unattended vehicles rose from 5 per cent to 51 per cent and the success rate for solving the theft of vehicles rose from 20 per cent to 67 per cent.

DC Webley said the 12 people arrested were aged between 17 and 30. They have been arrested for alleged offences including taking vehicles without the owner's consent, theft from unattended vehicles, handling stolen goods and burglary.

Police targeted car crime hot spots like Penllwyn, Pontllanfraith and Fleur-de-Lys.

Among the items recovered was a brand new Ford Mondeo worth £14,000, which was returned to its Monmouth owner intact.

Many of the other recovered items, mainly in-car entertainment goods like CD stereo players and speakers, have been returned to their owners. Operation Shatter took the form of both overt police patrols and covert operations and field intelligence gathering which has resulted in the arrest of five other people for offences other than car crime.

Although the operation in Blackwood has come to an end for the moment, a similar one is to take place to combat car crime in Risca.

Anyone with information on car crime in the area can contact DC Webley in confidence at Blackwood CID on 01495 232436 or 01495 223673.