Shoplifters targeted in radio plans

SHOPLIFTERS looking for easy pickings at Great Yarmouth's retail parks are being targeted in an initiative using shortwave radios. For the last two months stores on Gapton Hall and Pasteur Road retail parks have been using shortwave radios to combat shoplifting - sharing information on the movements of known offenders as well as alerting each other to incidents.

SHOPLIFTERS looking for easy pickings at Great Yarmouth's shopping parks are being targeted in an initiative using short-wave radios.

For the past two months, stores at Gapton Hall and Pasteur Road retail parks have been using the radios to combat theft, sharing reports on movements of known offenders as well as alerting each other to incidents.

The scheme, launched in July, was set up by police community support officer Martin Chapman, of Cobholm and Southtown Safer Neighbourhood Team. He said: "We felt these estates could benefit from being in the town centre retail security group. If shoplifters are excluded from the town centre the next place they will go to is the retail parks. Stores at Gapton Hall and Pasteur Road estates are now talking to each other a lot more. They share information about suspicious people and get to know faces."

Norfolk police and enterpriseGY have funded a six-month trial, providing 13 radios to retailers including Next, B&Q, instore and Sports World, which enables them to have a direct link with the CCTV control room and police. After the trial, stores will cover the system costs.

Annie Bodmer, service manager at B&Q, said: "It's a close-knit community on Gapton Hall, but there are only a few stores at the Pasteur Road retail park. With this system we can always listen to what is happening on the other estate and visa versa."

Ms Bodmer said thieves could be brazen, walking out of the store with a £600 saw or trying to make off with trolleyloads of goods. Three people had been convicted of shoplifting from the store this year, and the system was saving the store thousands of pounds.