HOUSEBREAKING has surged by a staggering 167 per cent in Clackmannanshire during the lockdown months – despite dropping by more then 25 per cent across Scotland overall.

A total of 32 incidents were recorded by police locally from April to June this year – compared with 12 incidents in the same period last year.

The data was published by the Scottish Government on July 23, as part of an effort to monitor crime across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

It also shows fraud has shot up by 169 per cent in Clacks between April and June this year compared to last year.

In terms of numbers, they show 43 incidents in 2020 compared with 16 in 2019.

The Advertiser asked police to comment on the huge spikes in crimes of dishonesty in the area, and was told officers have been cracking down on repeat offenders.

Chief Inspector Audrey Marsh said: "Any rise or trends in criminal activity within Clackmannanshire are scrutinised on a daily basis and swift action is taken to address those issues.

"In the last few months, we have carried out successful operations which have resulted in the arrest of several 'career criminals' for housebreaking and other crimes of dishonesty.

"Several of these individuals remain in custody today with one having received a prison sentence."

The area commander added: "My community policing and response teams run proactive operations to both prevent crime and target offences such as housebreaking and theft, to keep our communities safe.

"Rest assured that officers will conduct thorough investigations to identify perpetrators, bring them to justice and reunite victims with their stolen property."

While the data showed a rise in crimes of dishonesty, it also showed large drops in other types of crimes and offences.

For example, sexual crimes were down by 29 per cent overall in Clacks during the lockdown months in comparison with last year.

And attempted murder and serious assault decreased by 33 per cent.

But this was not matched in other areas, with non-sexual violent crime rising overall by 29 per cent.

A large proportion of that rise can be attributed to an increase in robbery – up from one incident between April and June last year to nine during the same period this year.

Driving under the influence offences also went up, by a worrying 80 per cent.

Across Scotland, overall crime decreased by nine per cent during the lockdown months, but actually rose in Clackmannanshire by four per cent.

Jason Lingiah, chair of Alloa Community Council, was dumbfounded by some of the local statistics.

He said: "It is a surprise that break-ins have occurred during lockdown in Alloa as residents have been staying at home, and it is distressing and very inconvenient at this time to be a victim of such an attack.

"However, it does show that there are people in the community who are very desperate for a number of reasons."

He went on to urge people to keep safe, and CI Marsh provided some tips on how to do just that.

She said: "Ensure that you remain vigilant, take steps to safeguard and lock your homes, sheds and cars and keep personal belongings safe and out of sight where possible.

"Police Scotland has a range of crime prevention advice available on our website."

To view all the data published by the Scottish Government, visit