By Detective Superintendent Matt Paden
Lothians and Scottish Borders Police Division

Acquisitive crime affects communities across Scotland and the Scottish Borders is no exception to this. 

There are various types of acquisitive crime that typically arise and we are committed to tackling these, while, at the same time, providing the public with all the necessary advice and guidance they need to stop themselves falling victim.

One of the most common is housebreaking – be it domestic, meaning it occurs at your home, or on the grounds of your property, like a garage, shed or other outbuilding.

The other is commercial, and this is when a business premises is broken into.

Housebreaking is incredibly invasive and can leave those affected feeling vulnerable and violated and we treat all such reports with the utmost seriousness.

Whenever a housebreaking is reported to us, we will conduct thorough inquiries at the scene to identify any evidence that can assist in identifying those responsible.

We will also pursue various avenues of inquiry away from the scene, by checking for CCTV opportunities, speaking with neighbours and even utilising the press and social media to appeal for potential witnesses.

Proactive Unit detectives within the Scottish Borders have worked closely with second hand retailers for a number of years to forge good working relationships and encourage staff to get in touch with us, should they suspect that an individual is attempting to sell-on stolen goods.

This provides us with an additional investigative avenue and can assist in returning stolen items with their rightful owners.

The best way to tackle housebreaking, however, is prevention, and our communities have a vital role to play in helping us prevent these crimes arising by taking simple yet effective security measures around their homes or businesses.

By investing in robust locks for your doors and windows; motion-activated lighting and, where possible, CCTV, you can significantly reduce the chances of your property being targeted.

Further information on preventing housebreaking is available on our website at
Another form of acquisitive crime that we often deal with is that of doorstep crime.

There are two main types, namely bogus callers and rogue traders.

Bogus callers try to get into your home or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they’re not, including council staff, charity collectors, meter readers and police officers, when, in fact, they are looking to steal money and valuables, or personal information.

Rogue traders typically pose as tradespeople and offer repair and maintenance services, which are then not carried out at all, or if they are, the standard of work is very poor.

In any case, they then use intimidation and threats to charge inflated sums of money for this work.

To tackle both types of doorstep crime, please never agree to let anyone carry out unsolicited work on your property and do not allow anyone access to your home unless you are entirely certain of their identity.

If you have any suspicions or concerns, refuse them entry, and call the police.

I would also urge younger members of our communities, to speak with older relatives, friends, and neighbours about doorstep crime, so they can be prepared and vigilant should criminals come calling at their door.

We remain committed to tackling acquisitive crime in all its forms and if you need to report any such offence, or if you’d like to arrange for an officer to discuss crime prevention for your home or business, please call 101. If a crime is in progress, then please dial 999.