MORE than two-thirds of theft cases in Cheshire were closed without police identifying a suspect last year, figures reveal.

Home Office figures show Cheshire Constabulary closed 16,796 theft probes in 2021 – 70 per cent of which had the outcome ‘investigation complete – no suspect identified’.

This was up from 68 per cent in 2020.

A further eight per cent of all theft cases in Cheshire closed with a suspect identified and the victim supporting an investigation but ‘evidential difficulties prevented further action’, while 12 per cent were closed because the victim dropped the case.

Eight per cent resulted in a charge or summons – down from 10 per cent the year before.

Across England and Wales, one million theft offences were closed without a suspect being found – 77 per cent of all cases.

In London, this was as high as 87 per cent.

In Cheshire, 65 per cent of cases of stolen motor vehicles were closed with no suspects identified, but other types of cases identified even fewer criminals.

No suspect was found in 93 per cent of cases of thefts from a vehicle, 86 per cent in incidents of vehicle interference and 84 per cent in bike theft.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said forces will prioritise cases where there is a realistic prospect of prosecution, and ensure vulnerable victims have the support they need.

For crimes such as theft, an NPCC spokesman said police focus on targeting prolific offenders, organised crime networks, and ensuring prevention measures are in place.

The Home Office said it is aware of the distress and disruption vehicle, bike and other thefts cause.

A spokeswoman said 20,000 extra police officers are being recruited to protect communities to help prevent these crimes.