LATEST crime figures show incidents involving serious violence have more than doubled in Barnsley since January.

Police bosses have reassured the public that the rise is down to an ‘unprecedented’ year in which four murder investigations have taken place.

The report, compiled by Chief Superintendent Scott Green, district commander for the town, shows there were 108 violent crimes between January and August - the most recent month available.

January accounted for the lowest figure when seven were recorded, before a rise saw incidents peak at 19 in May, with August having had 16.

The report said: “From May, Barnsley experienced four homicides, a high-profile critical incident in the town centre and a fatal road traffic collision involving an HGV.

“It is worth noting that the district has been able to deal with the increased demand from these incidents. Similarly, the links with local communities have meant Barnsley has been able to monitor closely any emerging community tensions.”

South Yorkshire as a whole had 15 murders in the year up to June - four of which happened in Barnsley during an unprecedented four-month period.

Clare Smith, Jill Hibberd, Dawid Szubert and Gary Dean were all killed during that spell, although none were linked and police said the public had no need to be concerned about the spate.