A boy has been arrested in Gunnedah and charged with multiple offences related to break and enters in the area.

About 3pm on Tuesday, police attended a home in Gunnedah and arrested an 18-year-old following the investigation into multiple break and enters in the area.

He was taken to Gunnedah Police Station and charged with two counts of enter building/land with intent to commit indictable offence, aggravated break and enter with intent- knowing person there and aggravated break and enter commit serious indictable offence.

The teen was refused bail to appear at a children’s court today.

The arrest follows the NSW Police announcement of Operation Regional Mongoose to tackle serious property-related crime across rural areas.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Bob Noble said the operation will be headquartered in Dubbo but involve police districts across the region.

Officers will specifically target break and enter offences on homes, stealing of motor vehicles and serious traffic offences related to those thefts including dangerous pursuits.

Assistant Commissioner Noble said many of the recent offences involved children, some as young as 10 and 11 years of age.

“We’re seeing increased offending by young people [who are] breaking into people’s homes, frequently there are people home at the time of these offences,” he said.

“Worryingly, there have been acts of violence conducted against those persons and in some cases weapons have been carried.”

Assistant Commissioner Noble said it was not the number of offences that was concerning but the manner in which they are being committed.

“It is not an epidemic of crime but the serious nature of the crime demands an escalated response,” he said.

“This is not a particularly concerning upturn but it’s enough we need to call on specialist resources.

“We’ve seen this is in urban areas but it is coming into regional parts of NSW and when these offences occur, especially in small communities, they can have a profound effect.”

Police are aware that in some cases, social media is driving a form of “one-upmanship” among offenders, but they warned this would only end in tragedy.

“We would rather not be locking up people, especially young people, and it would appear it is predominantly young people in the commission of these offences. But if they have to be incarcerated to protect the community, we will do that,” he said.

“If there is an opportunity to divert people from the criminal justice system, we’ll certainly do that.

“We would all agree those [young] people should be at home but we also have a realistic view of the world and know some of these homes are not good places to be.

“So, it is a very layered problem and not solely in the remit of police to solve it.”

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