‘Retailers need to take some responsibility for security’

Police Station : Phil Taylor and Mark Housley.

Police Station : Phil Taylor and Mark Housley.

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INVESTIGATING shop thefts in Grantham over the Christmas period cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Each investigation into shoplifting which is not dealt with by way of a fixed penalty notice costs Lincolnshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service a whopping £3,000.

Officers dealt with 44 shop thefts between November 21 and Christmas Eve.

Had several of these not resulted in the offenders being issued with a fixed penalty notice, the costs would have spiralled to £132,000, which include police time and court costs.

Police saw a significant increase in such crimes over the festive period, compared with 19 during the same period last year.

This was despite the focused efforts of officers who anticipated a rise because of the current economic climate and carried out a targeted campaign entitled ‘Operation Cavell’.

They worked closely with CCTV operators, kept a focus on a ‘Top 10’ selection of thieves, and filtered plain clothed detectives into the town centre.

Chief Inspector Mark Housley believes security in “hot spot” shops needs beefing up to crackdown on shoplifting.

He added: “What some of them seem to have done is get rid of security because they can’t afford it but is it right that the police pick up that slack that’s been created?

“Retailers need to take some responsibility. Shoving iPhones at the front of the shop is not good enough if you’ve not got the security to back it up.”

B&M Bargains is one of the largest town centre stores in Grantham, and one often targeted by shoplifters.

Owner Simon Arora said: “B&M employs both uniformed security officers and plain clothed store detectives. As a result we have been able to secure a number of convictions against shoplifters, and are grateful for the co-operation and support we get from local police officers.”