Saturday, 05 September 2015

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Shoplifting gangs travelling to Cumbria in run-up to festivities

Police have revealed that shoplifters from outside Cumbria have travelled to target Carlisle in the run-up to Christmas.

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Pleased: Sergeant Richard Higgin says revellers generally heeded police warnings and the atmosphere on the streets was good

Officers say there has been information to suggest at least one ‘team’ from Glasgow has preyed on stores in the city centre, and they are also aware of suspects who have come across from the north east.

Sergeant Richard Higgin urged managers, staff and shoppers to stay alert during the busiest time of the year as figures showed recorded retail crime had increased during the festive run-up this year compared to the same period in 2011.

He said training carried out with shop staff, undercover police watching out for thieves and the work of an alliance of shops called Retailers Against Crime was playing its part in the fight against such thefts.

Sgt Higgin also said that about 80 per cent of shoplifting offences did lead to an arrest or a fine being issued in the city centre – but he warned against complacency. The officer, who covers the heart of Carlisle, added that many shoplifters tended to be drug addicts or opportunists, but also said travelling thieves did target Cumbria.

“They may choose Carlisle because their faces are not known here,” he said.

Latest figures show there were 135 retail thefts in Carlisle city centre this month and during November, compared to 110 in the same period last year.

Sgt Higgin said the result was not necessarily a negative one because much shoplifting often went unreported and this meant staff were more aware of it and were reporting more crimes.

“We have carried out training with shops that empowers the staff to have the confidence to stop people and to know what to look for, leading to more detections,” he added.

“Shop owners can help stop thieves by thinking how your shop is laid out, the design of the shop. We want them to make it as difficult as possible for people to steal.”



Should there be heavier fines for dog owners who don't pick up their dog's mess?



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