Police in pre-Christmas town centre crackdown
6:50pm Saturday 19th October 2013 in Latest News
TOWN centre shops will not be easy targets for shoplifters in the run up to Christmas, neighbourhood police have vowed.
Officers carried out a covert plain clothes operation in the town on Thursday and made several arrests, including a bag snatcher who stole a young woman’s Topshop carrier bag full of new clothes.
Officers from the central neighbourhood police team and the neighbourhood tasking team conducted the operation and also involved the inSwindon Street Team, Brunel shopping centre management and store security staff to clamp down on anti-social behaviour and retail crime.
As a result of the operation, one man was arrested for theft by finding when he took advantage of a shopper who briefly left a shopping bag unattended. The woman, who was in her 20s, reported the theft to police immediately after her bag was snatched at 4.30pm and officers managed to apprehend the man and recover the items taken.
Another man was arrested for breaching his anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) and two men were also dealt with having been found in possession of cannabis.
Town Centre Community Beat Manager PC Claire Davidson warned thieves similar patrols would take place at random in the town and that Swindon would not be a soft target for out of town shoplifters.
She said: “Shoplifting and theft can peak as we get closer to Christmas and we are being proactive to try and prevent that with these patrols.
“We are targeting our regular offenders but also we are on the look out for out-of-town shop-lifters who come in and steal items that you would associate with Christmas presents. Sometimes they may come in with particular items in mind or a shopping list, mainly of high-end items such as clothes or gadgets.
“The message is we are not going to be a soft target and we will be stepping up patrols, particularly during late-night shopping.
“Our team is committed to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.
“Plain clothes operations are one of several strategies that we deploy in conjunction with our partner agencies.
“We are committed to tackling those persistent offenders that commit crime and impact our community and this is one approach that will be utilised as we lead up to the busy festive period.”
Town Centre Sergeant Rebecca Smart said: “As well as providing these extra plain clothes patrols, we’ll be offering crime prevention advice to businesses and visitors.
“We will be keeping a close eye on the town centre area with the help of our shopping centre management in their CCTV command centres, store security staff and Street Team.
“Our aim is to work with our partners to ensure Swindon town centre remains a safe, pleasant place in which to shop, work and socialise.”
For more information on your location neighbourhood police team or to report a crime, contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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