The bitter cold and occasional snow shower has not put off police officers in Ashford from cracking down on would-be shoplifters in the run-up to Christmas.
High-profile patrols as well as plain-clothes officers have been visiting key shopping areas around the borough and will continue to do so over the festive period to deter offenders.
Aided by the use of one of Kent Police’s mobile CCTV units and the retail community, officers have already visited the Ashford Designer Outlet, the town centre, Sevington Business Park and Tenterden.
On Thursday 5 December, officers tracked down a silver Audi which had left Ashford’s Matalan store and was heading to Tenterden.
Police stayed with the vehicle until it was stopped in Pluckley where approx 60 DVDs allegedly stolen from Matalan stores in Ashford and Canterbury were recovered and three people arrested.
Shops and members of the retail community have been given crime prevention advice and tips on keeping display items safe, such as placing them away from entrances and making it more difficult for opportunist thieves to grab items.
Members of the Ashford Partnership Against Crime (APAC) are also linked to the CCTV control and police, so that offenders can be located quickly and arrested.
Shoplifting is the main focus of the operation but the presence of extra officers in the town centre will also enhance the safety of people socialising in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Inspector Angie Hobbs said: ‘We are already seeing a difference and have a number of investigations underway as a result of this operation.
‘It’s important to maintain and enhance our police presence in these key shopping areas because even at times when we are not speaking to known offenders, handling suspects and detecting crime, we are deterring offenders just by being seen and although we can’t measure that effect, we know it works.
‘With our high profile presence and zero-tolerance approach, we want to send a clear message to potential offenders: “Don’t think about shoplifting here – you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted".'
Read here for more information about the Stay Safe this Winter Campaign
Posted on: 14 December 2012
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