Shoplifting crackdown hailed a success

A POLICING operation to crack down on shoplifting over the Christmas period has been hailed a success.

Officers from the South Yarmouth Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) worked in partnership with retailers, and local agencies to combat a potential rise in thefts over the busy shopping period in a campaign codenamed Operation Chart.

Sgt Tony Blackman, from the South Yarmouth SNT, said the operation was a success with only 16 theft offences being reported in the town centre area between December 1 and 31 – equalling last year’s figures.

In November the team, including town centre beat officers PC Nigel Robinson and PC Neil Smith, attended a security meeting where retailers, town centre management and street wardens were briefed about the operation and information was supplied to police regarding potential shoplifting suspects.

In total, officers made 326 visits to shops during the campaign with 224 of those visits to seven “hotspot” stores.

Police identified five persistent offenders and out of those three were arrested for shoplifting.

A 17-year-old woman was arrested after officers witnessed her acting suspiciously in Clarkes on December 8. The teen was stopped and found to be in possession of two left feet boots which she had stolen from the store.

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The woman appeared at Yarmouth Magistrates court on December 22 where she pleaded guilty to shoplifting and was fined a total of �40.

Sgt Blackman said: “This is a fantastic result, especially when you consider the current economic climate where theft becomes an attractive option.

“However, it is important to stress that these results could not have been achieved without all interested parties working together.

“The link with shop staff, security, town centre wardens, CCTV and the Town Centre Partnership all paid off ensuring the shopping experience in Great Yarmouth was safe and enjoyable.”