Housebreakings have jumped in Irvine with robbers raiding properties 121 times over the last year.

Ayrshire’s new top cop Mark Hargreaves warned it is likely the same criminals operating in the town.

The number of break-ins has rose by about a quarter – up from 92 the year before.

Chief Superintendent Hargreaves said: “Irvine has seen a significant increase in house breakins . This relies on information from members of the public. Quite often we find a lot of housebreakings are committed by a small number of individuals. Unfortunately it is a way of life for some people.”

Across the whole of North Ayrshire housebreaking levels were slightly down between April 1 2018 and March 31 last year. In Kilwinning the number of housebreaking crimes has dipped from 42 to 27. The number of sex crimes has surged by a fifth – up 20 per cent.

The statistics were presented to the North Ayrshire Police and Fire and Rescue Committee.

Overall 10,954 crimes occurred in North Ayrshire – up two per cent.