Crime was all but wiped out in a city centre over Christmas.

Figures just released show swamping streets with bobbies paid major dividends, with no crime at all being recorded in one busy shopping area.

High-profile patrols in Blatchington Road, Hove, in the two weeks to Christmas reduced burglaries, car and violent crimes to zero, compared to nine in the same period last year.

And there were big impacts in other areas.

There were just four crimes in Church Road, Hove, compared to 18 last year, and in Western Road, between Norfolk Square and Holland Road, last year's total of 20 was slashed to eight.

Police in Hove studied crimes during the past three years and pinpointed likely hot spots and times of trouble.

As many as 20 officers patrolled the three areas during peak crime periods and some officers were assigned fixed-site duties.

Chief Inspector Stuart Harrison, second-in-command of the Hove-Shoreham police division, said: "We are delighted with the results but this is not rocket science.

"Putting more officers on the streets where they are needed most is common sense."

He said that, across the division, the policy had cut burglaries by 50 per cent in the past 18 months and overall crime was down ten per cent.

Mr Harrison is soon to move to the new Brighton-Hove division, based in John Street, and is keen to introduce similar operations to the centre of Brighton.

He said: "Given the right level of resources, this is something we can transfer."

Car crime in Hove-Shoreham is down 22 per cent this year.

To tackle violence, Mr Harrison said: "We organised high-priority patrols between the hours of 8pm and midnight, when we had seen the biggest increase in this particular crime.

"We were determined to make this one of the safest and most peaceful Christmas periods and, I believe, we achieved that."