THE number of crimes in Ilminster was 5% lower overall than the previous year.

PC Andy Stuart told the town’s annual meeting that thefts of motor vehicles were down 40%, non-home burglaries were down 36% and criminal damage was down 41%.

There were increases, most notably sexual offences, up 133%. Thefts from vehicles were up 60% and shoplifting rose by 16%.

PC Stuart told the meeting not to be alarmed by the increases – despite the high percentage increases, the numbers of incidents were low and the sharp rise was due to a change in how crimes were recorded.