Police keeping a close eye on suspected shoplifters with home visits

PUBLISHED: 09:26 17 April 2012

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SUSPECTED shoplifters are being given home visits by police warning them they are being watched.

Officers are knocking on doors of those suspected of stealing from stores in East Cambridgeshire to let them know they are being targeted. They will also be offered help from other agencies if their offending is linked to drug use.

The tough new approach has been brought in to tackle key offenders.

The tactic is one of a raft of measures under Operation Wicket which was launched at the start of the month.

A Shop Watch scheme has been successfully launched in Littleport and upgraded in Ely, and plans are in place to improve systems to allow shops, police and CCTV operators to quickly share images of suspected thieves.

There were 172 offences of shoplifting in East Cambs during 2011, there have been 46 so far this year.

Sergeant Will Davis said: “We are taking a much more focused approach to shoplifting, which starts with going directly to those suspected of being prolific offenders. We’ll visit them and tell them we’re targeting them, will be monitoring them and will lock them up if they put a foot out of line.

“Shoplifting is usually just the tip of the iceberg; we often find people who steal from shops are also involved in other criminality such as burglary or drugs.

“During the visits we will offer help and support to those who may be stealing to fund drug habits or due to unemployment, but ultimately some are just intent on committing crime and they need to be stopped.”

The crackdown is running alongside Cambridgeshire police’s Get Closer campaign which aims to target certain crime trends identified through crime data analysis. The campaign includes radio adverts on Heart FM warning people of the restrictions a criminal record can have on their future careers and travel.

The radio adverts can be listened to on a dedicated section of the force website www.cambs.police.uk/GetCloser

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