Christmas shoplifters warned
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 December 2010
STAFF in Weston’s shops are being given specialist police training to help combat festive thieves.
Shoplifters in the resort absorb a huge amount of police man hours, but town centre Sergeant Pete Land says officers are winning the war against the criminals.
And in their latest innovative bid to help tackle the culprits, staff at some of the main target locations, such as TJ Hughes, Tesco, Boots and Marks & Spencer, are being given expert training to help them spot offenders.
Deputy manager of TJ Hughes, Angela Ballantine, said: “We are excited about the extra training as it will help us understand what the rules around shoplifting are, what powers we have and what we can do to help deter it.”
This month a prolific shoplifter from Yatton, 30-year-old Paul Clift, was sent to jail for six months after stealing bottles of aftershave from the High Street store.
Sgt Pete Land said the case should serve as an example to others and warned that with an increase of police patrols and heightened awareness of shop staff, more shoplifters would be caught.
Between November 2009 and October 2010 there were 281 recorded shoplifting incidents and police caught 223 of the culprits, a detection rate of 79.4 per cent.
Sgt Land said: “Paul Clift was a prolific offender who targeted numerous retail outlets within the town centre and has been arrested on several occasions for shoplifting offences.
“In the coming weeks leading up to Christmas, while shoplifting offences do not increase significantly, there will always be opportunistic individuals who believe they are less likely to be caught given the increased number of shoppers.
“In addition to our increased high visibility patrols, our officers have been engaging with retail outlets to offer preventative and practical advice for their staff on the law, how to observe people acting suspiciously and how to safely confront people.”