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Skipton police target shoplifters

Skipton police target shoplifters

Published at 6:03am 16th June 2015. (Updated at 10:32am 16th June 2015)

Police in Skipton are getting tough on shoplifters after a recent rise in offences.

Officers have seen a 62% increase in shoplifting incidents - 39 in the year to date, compared with 25 for the same period in previous years - and they have launched an operation with local retailers to tackle thieves.

Operation Nesbit has a number of strands to help combat criminals targeting shops, including:

  • Shop staff are being trained to identify the main types of crime against retailers.
  • Staff are receiving training in how to deal with shoplifters.
  • Retailers have invested in increased physical and technical security.
  • Police have invested in covert equipment and intelligence.
  • Images of shoplifters are shared with retailers under an information sharing agreement with the help of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP).
  • Prosecutions will be shared with the media, businesses and other police forces.

Inspector Geoff Crocker, of Skipton Police, says he's determined to reduce the number of shop thefts in the Craven area and has warned that he wants to see offenders before the courts.

He added: "We have seen an increase in thefts from shops in Skipton since April, compared with the last two years.

"It is a fact that most people do not steal and thieving from shops is not a victimless crime. We are taking a no-nonsense approach to this problem and 25 shoplifters have already been arrested and prosecuted in Craven this year.

"Of the arrests this year, very few are claiming any sort of hardship. Stealing packs of 10 steaks from a supermarket or expensive perfume from a department store is about feeding a drug habit.

"I have been very clear in the way this operation is being set up that we are going after the thieves and I want to put them in front of Skipton Magistrates' Court."

Officers are also working with neighbouring forces and the BCRP to identify suspects and ensure that travelling criminals can't get into North Yorkshire.

Inspector Crocker warned that anyone who is caught coming into Skipton to commit crime will be arrested.

He said: "Offender profiles suggest that the majority come from Bradford and Keighley. Craven offenders are the third largest group, with criminals from Manchester and Scarborough equal fourth.

"Anyone arrested in Skipton is now taken to our modern custody facility in Harrogate. Unless people are deemed vulnerable, we are under no obligation to provide transport home once released.

"The message is clear - don't come to Craven with the intent of committing crime. The police, the retailers and the public will be looking out for you and if you are caught you will need your train fare to get home, if not an overnight bag because we might just keep you in."

If you have any information about shoplifting in your area, you can call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.