Some of Peterborough’s most dangerous and prolific foreign criminals have been singled out for deportation in a police crackdown.
Fifty criminals who have committed the most crimes or who are repeat offenders have been tagged by police for ejection from the UK.
Many have already been forced out of the country while the others will be deported after completing prison sentences.
Since the scheme began two years ago, criminals who have been deported include an individual who had been arrested 11 times, mostly for shop theft.
Other individuals have been removed from the UK for sexual offences and robbery.
Two people who were deported are known to have returned to Peterborough including a prolific burglar who was removed straight away.
There are currently seven individuals in prison who at the end of their sentence will be removed from the country, one of whom is serving a three-year term for burglary.The idea for deportations came from Detective Chief Inspector Nick Knight, crime manager for Peterborough, who noticed the same people kept coming into custody.
DCI Knight decided to use the powers of the immigration services to remove the most prolific individuals who had breached their treaty rights to stay in the UK by committing crime.
He drew up a list of the most 100 prolific offenders with those at the top having been arrested for 10 or more offences.
The ones who had lost their right to be in the country - as they were not in education, employment, seeking employment, or did not have a family - could then be kicked out.
The police can bring individuals to the attention of immigration services who will then decide whether they should be removed.
However, immigration services sometimes pick out people themselves.
DCI Knight said: “This is not about us targeting foreign nationals, it is about us targeting criminals. This is just another tool in the tool box we have considered.”
He added that by removing the most prolific or dangerous offenders police could reduce costs spent on officer time, detention, legal aid, interpreters, court time, prison and probation.
He believes the initiative is working as the offenders now at the top of his list of 100 have committed three or four offences rather than 10 or more.
Police are also steering foreign offenders away from crime through a scheme that helps them with drink and drug dependency and to find work or get into education.
DCI Knight said: “I want to make Peterborough a no-go area for all repeat offenders. We will use whatever is out there to stop people offending.”
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “I think foreign criminals from the EU tar all immigrants with the same brush. Most reasonable people in Peterborough believe that if you have committed a crime or more than one crime, you should be deported – full stop. We have to ensure they are permanently removed.
“The government is right to prioritise this and it will be a big part of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation strategy with the EU in the next few years.”
A burglar from Lithuania was jailed after he twice broke promises to return home.
Mantas Pronckus (27) was jailed for 20 months in September 2012 and eight months in April 2013.
Both times he was released early on agreement he return to Lithuania.
After returning here, Pronckus was jailed for two years in July this year for another burglary.