POLICE are launching a blitz on shoplifting after new figures showed thefts had rocketed by 96 per cent in some areas of South Derbyshire.
Section inspector Nigel Lidsey (pictured) revealed to the Mail that Swadlincote town centre and Newhall were ‘hotspot’ zones for the crime.
So far, 46 more incidents have been recorded when compared to statistics from last year.
Now, in a bid to put an end to the problem as stores start to gear up for Christmas shopping, officers are set to launch a dual operation with retailers to try to train staff how to spot potential shoplifters.
“When people first see the 96 per cent figure they will be alarmed but I want to stress that this is a spike and, on the whole, crime is down eight per cent on last year,” Insp Lidsey said.
“But there is obviously an issue with shoplifting in certain areas and this is why we have come up with a plan to deal with the problem.”
Attempts to halt the rise will see members of staff working in shops in the areas being hit being targeted given specialist training by Derbyshire Police to show them what to look out for when dealing with a shoplifter and what they are allowed to do if somebody is seen stealing from one of the stores.
Insp Lidsey said: “This training exercise will be supplemented by more high visibility patrols on the streets in areas that have seen a sharp rise in shoplifting.
“Officers will be going into shops, talking to staff, managers and owners to discuss any issues they are having and also to supplement the training that we will be offering over the next couple of months.
“There will also be more signage in shops as we are determined to reduce the number of incidents, especially at a time when retailers get set for an extremely busy period in the run up to Christmas.
“My message to people who think they can come into Swadlincote and shoplift is you can’t, we are watching and we will catch you.
“We hope that this double edged approach will quickly bring the crime rise to a halt and cut the amount of people shoplifting.
“The training will not only help sort out this crime spike but will also stand the staff and shops in good stead for the busy Christmas retail season.”