Shoplifter caught from hundreds of miles away

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 November 2010

Chrissie Tahon robbery at Spar Loxton road, Weston

Chrissie Tahon robbery at Spar Loxton road, Weston

Archant

AN INTERNET surfer 150 miles from Weston caught a shoplifter in the act thanks to a new piece of technology in one of the resort's shops.

Chrissie Tahon robbery at Spar Loxton road, Weston

The thief, believed to have been a 13 or 14-year-old, was spotted on camera at the Loxton Road Spar on the Coronation estate by a man in Essex.

Only three days prior to the incident the convenience store had installed the new CCTV system, which means people can sign up to watch shoppers from the comfort of their own homes and then send a message to staff if they see someone shoplifting.

The tip-off gets delivered to manager Chrissie Tatton’s mobile phone so that she can check it out and successful thief-spotters get part of their subscription fee back.

Chrissie has worked in retail for 22 years and says it is the first system of its type she has ever seen and the only one in Weston.

The 46-year-old said: “I wasn’t in the shop at the time of the incident, so when I got the text message I phoned a member of staff who caught the shoplifter in the act.

“We didn’t report it to the police as we thought he would just get a slap on the wrist, but we banned him from the shop.

“Since that happened a couple of weeks ago, we have managed to stop four other small thefts.

“We do get messages about shoplifting where people aren’t doing anything wrong as well.

“There is one elderly gentleman who uses sticks to get around, so we have agreed he can put items in his pockets and bags.

“But when people see him on the internet they message us to say he has been shoplifting when he hasn’t.

“Staff are busy serving customers and this acts as another pairs of eyes.”

Internet Eye, which runs the initiative, charges viewers an annual and monthly fee to subscribe, but the most successful thief spotter each month wins £1,000.

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