Crackdown on Christmas time crime in Dereham

PUBLISHED: 06:05 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 July 2010

Police and traders are joining forces to crackdown on shoplifting in Dereham in the run up to Christmas - and they are already making their mark on the criminals.

Police and traders are joining forces to crackdown on shoplifting in Dereham in the run up to Christmas - and they are already making their mark on the criminals.

Operation Warning has been running since October and so far there has been a 60 per cent reduction in reported shoplifting offences compared with 12 months ago.

The crime-cracking Christmas campaign is sending out a no-nonsense message to thieves in the town centre and on the retail parks on the outskirts of town - steal from shops and you are likely to be caught.

“The results are good and the fact that we have plain clothes officers on duty in the town centre means that the would-be thieves don't know where they are and we hope that is proving a deterrent,” said Sgt Amie Morfoot, who is heading the campaign.

Already two local prolific Dereham shoplifters know they will be spending Christmas behind bars after they were arrested, charged and remanded in custody until after Christmas.

Sgt Morfoot: “In the run up to Christmas, we don't want thieves to spoil this festive period for retailers and local residents.”

She said the current economic recession was tempting people who would not normally steal into becoming thieves.

Sgt Morfoot said anyone shoplifting in the town would be identified by police or Shopwatch members and will consequently be arrested for the offence.

Teams of both plain clothed and uniformed officers will be working closely with the 24 members of the local Shopwatch scheme to share information about the activities of shoplifters in Dereham.

Shops will be able to alert police and other Shopwatch members directly via a radio if a thief steals from their premises.

Police will be carrying out both high visibility and plain clothed patrols in the town centre. Special Constables and response officers will be working closely with the neighbourhood policing team to increase reassurance and catch opportunist thieves.

Sgt Morfoot reminded shoppers of the need to be aware of purse thieves and take precautions such as:

t keep your bag closed and close to you at all times, if possible with the opening towards your body

t close your purse and out it away before you leave the cash till

t try to avoid overloading yourself with bags and coats

t avoid carrying your purse or wallet in a back trouser pocket

t keep cash secure and out of sight

t do not leave your handbag, push chair or shopping trolley unattended for any length of time

t take particular care over not revealing your PIN.

Purse alarms, which link your purse to your handbag and alert you if your purse is being stolen, are available to buy from Dereham police station.

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