More than a dozen police officers took part in the chase and arrest of a burglary suspect yesterday after he was caught in the process of breaking into a home.

Eyewitnesses told of a high-speed pursuit between a squad car and a motorbike being ridden by a young man. After colliding with parked cars, the suspect was thrown to the floor and the chase continued on foot. The alleged burglar fled down an alley off Elliott Street, followed by officers who had arrived as backup. The suspect was eventually caught and taken into custody.

The drama unfolded on a day when new police statistics showed that certain crimes - including house burglary and robbery - continue on an upward spiral. In the first quarter of 2008, there were 46 robberies - an increase of over 50 per cent on the first quarter of last year. In fact, the total represents the highest rate of robbery since the decade began.

In 1997 and 1998 respectively, there were only 48 and 39 robberies for the entire year.

There were 304 burglaries during the first quarter of this year, which the police pointed out was the same as in 2007. However, last year's figure was hugely increased from the year before, and stood 100 per cent higher than in 2000. Of the 304 burglaries in the first quarter of this year, 206 were from homes, compared to 189 in 2007.

Burglaries on the island are now occurring at a rate of around three a day. The latest happened in the Court Street area yesterday, which led to the high-speed chase. An eyewitness said: "A bike came round the corner, fast, and there was a screech of tyres and sirens and the next moment they [the police] skidded round the corner. The bike hit the car and bounced off and hit those [parked] cars. The guy got up, ran off up the alley. Two guys got out the police car, followed him - one of them was on his radio. Then there's police all over, coming out of a van, running up the alley."

A police source said: "It's no secret we're having a problem with burglaries. It's not often we get to catch one of them [the burglars] in the process of breaking in. That's why we didn't want him getting away and why we diverted all of our resources down there."