Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shoplifters Warned Police Are Already on to Them

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shoplifters Warned Police Are Already on to Them

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter

AROUND 80 prolific shoplifters who travel into Newcastle to steal are on police's hit list this Christmas.

As Tyneside's law-abiding residents head to town for their festive shopping a hardcore of crooks have also been making the trip into the city centre to fund their holiday seasons.

But police have warned that officers working on a special operation to crack down on Christmas shoplifting know the faces of all those career thieves that target the city.

And they are now out in force ready to catch them in the act.

The Chronicle joined officers from Northumbria Police on a shift of Operation Cracker to see how they tackle city centre thieves.

The force's Newcastle Central Neighbourhood Inspector Caroline Ord explained how it all works.

"We get shoplifters travelling in from all over the North East and there are around 80 prolific offenders that we need to look out for," she said. "But we have got regular officers working on Operation Cracker and they all know who the shoplifters are.

"Obviously we have shoplifting throughout the year. But it traditionally starts rising in October and November. Shoplifting does impact on the public. It's not a victimless crime so we need to do something about it."

Shoplifters take advantage of the busy streets and shops to take easy to steal but valuable items, such as perfume.

Police say these goods are then sold on in the run-up to Christmas.

To tackle the problem Operation Cracker was launched at the end of October Until January Newcastle city centre will be flooded with police who will stop and speak to all known offenders, and deter opportunist thieves from carrying out their first offences.

Undercover officers have also be out and about to catch shoplifters in the act.

Anyone arrested for shoplifting will, where possible, be given bail conditions banning them from coming back into the area where they were arrested. …

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