Meet ‘Batman’ of Doncaster who cracked more than 250 cases

POLICE Awards   L>R Alan Billing, TDS Neil Beresford, Adrian Welsh, Adrian Welsh Glazing. Award Detective of the year 2014
POLICE Awards L>R Alan Billing, TDS Neil Beresford, Adrian Welsh, Adrian Welsh Glazing. Award Detective of the year 2014

A super cop drafted in to rid the streets of criminals may seem like something from a sci-fi comic book, but it’s all in a day’s work for one detective.

Gotham has Batman, Detroit has Robocop and now Doncaster can boast Neil Beresford as its crime fighting machine.

For our streets our much safer thanks to the dedicated detective who has cracked an astonishing 250 cases inside a year.

The temporary detective sergeant has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help cleanse the town of criminality and ensure dozens of serious offenders are now behind bars for years to come.

He has smashed criminal gangs, drug dealing rings and brought to justice one offender who had a loaded automatic machine gun.

The humble 53-year-old spoke exclusively to the Doncaster Free Press and gave an insight into the secret of good policing.

He explained how officers are often playing a cat-and-mouse game with organised criminal gangs - but good old-fashioned graft and teamwork gives him and his colleagues an edge.

He says: “The key is hard work, simple as that. Put the hours in, and you get the rewards. There are long days and weeks when you are working on big cases and it takes a great amount of dedication. Teamwork is key too. You have to have good people around you, and fortunately I have that.

“Doncaster is a busy place, it is relentless. That is why you need to keep a high work rate.” Temp Det Sgt Beresford’s huge workload in 2014 included more than 250 cases, 178 of which were for drugs offences.

Brothers James and Henry Kong were among those he help bring to justice. The pair funded a lavish lifestyle involving exotic holidays - to destinations such as Thailand and the Phillipines - by selling cannabis until the pair were jailed for 13 years.

Police raided the pair’s homes in Norborough Road, Wheatley, and Central Boulevard, Wheatley Hills respectively, seizing more than £70,000 worth of cannabis, a stun gun and pepper spray.

After they were locked up South Yorkshire Police successfully secured a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act with a judge ruling the brothers should pay back total of just over £121,000 of their ill-gotten gains.

Such achievements has helped Tem Det Sgt Beresford to be recognised by colleagues. He has been named detective of the year at Doncaster District Police Awards at the Keepmoat Stadium.

A citation put forward by Doncaster Police’s command team revealed the range of serious offenders he has brought to justice.

It read: “The offences those people committed range from aggravated burglary, blackmail, possession of loaded automatic machine guns and additional ammunition, the supply of heroin, crack cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis, the identification and arrest of criminal gang members organising cannabis factories, the recovery of five kilos of heroin – the list goes on and on.”

Temp Det Sgt Beresford, who has spent his 23 year career in Doncaster after starting as a beat bobby, was careful not to give too much away, but shared some of his tried and tested methods.

He said: “It is about identifying different patterns and keeping an eye on them.

“I also act as an expert witness in court cases, which involves things like interpreting what certain text messages and conversations might mean.

“We also need to keep track on the value of drugs at street level.”

He also puts his success in the job down to knowing the patch having previously been based at police stations across Edlington, Mexborough, Rossington, Stainforth and Thorne, before moving into the Criminal Investigation Department in Armthorpe. He is now part of the proactive team, which focuses on investigating organised and serious crimes, based at Doncaster Police Station.

Temp det sgt Beresford says: “I’ve got a very wide knowledge of the area, having worked in the town all my career. I come across some offenders who I’ve dealt with before years earlier.”

He adds it was an honour to receive his award, saying: “I didn’t expect it, but it is nice to be recognised by your peers.”

Doncaster’s district commander, Chief Superintendent Richard Tweed, describes his colleague as a “true credit to the district.”

He says: “His natural ability to investigate and detect serious acquisitive crime and drugs offences to an impeccable standard is exceptional and I cannot fault his passion and enthusiasm as a detective.

“Neil deserved to win detective of the year; he is thought of in the highest regard by his colleagues, peers and supervisors and he is a role model for all officers.”

•See this week’s Doncaster Free Press for round-up coverage of the awards evening.