SHOPLIFTERS are the target of a major crackdown on retail crime in Leamington.
Patrols by undercover and uniformed police officers have been stepped up to tackle spiralling thefts from town centre stores.
Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “Leamington is no different to any other town centre in terms of shoplifting.
“However, over Christmas there were some significant issues which prompted us to work with retailers and Warwickshire Police to tackle the problem.
“Together we have been able to deliver a really successful campaign that has included plain clothes officers monitoring areas of the town centre, increased police visibility and a mobile police unit.”
Police community support officers (PCSOs) and special constables are also involved in the random patrols looking to catch both prolific and opportunist shoplifters.
PCSO Jamie Cortez said: “A number of operations have been carried out and these will continue several times a month.
“Our message to shoplifters is that we are watching you and just because you may not see us in visible uniform, does not mean we are not out there.”
Les Watkins is deputy manager of Royal Priors and chairman of the Leamington Retail Crime Initiative, which runs the radio scheme linked to the town centre’s CCTV to help retailers identify prolific and banned shoplifters.
He said: “The town centre’s retail radio network and CCTV operation are an essential part of how we all work together to fight against crime and we welcome these further initiatives from the police to support our retailers to specifically help combat shoplifting.”
Marks and Spencer, which has outlets on The Parade and in the Royal Priors, welcomed the crack down.
Ann Jeffrey said: “It is not only helping to reduce theft but also has a positive effect on the working environment for our staff who can find having to deal with shoplifters difficult as it can be intimidating.”