Shoplifters warned there's nowhere to hide in Gloucester
SHOPLIFTERS – we’re watching you.have “nowhere to hide” in Gloucester.
That’s the message 60 retailers and the police are issuing.
They have teamed up to share information about thieves and troublemakers who frequent Gloucester.
Gloucester Shopwatch Link is a sophisticated network of retailers who are connected by digital radios and CCTV cameras that cover large swathes of the city.
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Tracy Arnold, manager at the Sue Ryder charity shop in The Oxebode, said: “It is brilliant, the shoplifters have nowhere to hide.
“If anything happens you just get straight on to the next shop down the road and we have them covered.
“I’ve stopped a few people who have tried to make off with items from the shop.”
Peter White, centre manager at King’s Walk shopping centre, said: “The scheme has been a success and we have a number of national and independent retailers involved.
“We hope to be able to attract more retailers to the scheme with a view to reduce retail crime in the city.”
Retailers meet once a month to ban people and those who repeatedly break their ban can end up before the courts or be landed with an anti-social behaviour order.
There are currently 18 shoplifters in the Shopwatch scheme, some of whom are prolific offenders.
Each person’s ban is reviewed annually and PC Mark Evans, who co-ordinates the scheme, said only around 15 per cent of them re-offended after being monitored by Shopwatch.
He said: “It is helping to reduce shoplifting in the city and the more retailers that join the scheme, the more successful it becomes.
“Our retailers are spread far and wide across the city . They can communicate over the radio link or by text message and they all have access to a database with all the pictures and profiles of the people who are banned.”
PCSO Steph Mason said: “All of the retailers’ CCTVs are connected, along with the city centre CCTV and we can track offenders walking from one shop to another in whatever direction.”
Retailers big and small have joined the scheme – from charity shops to newsagents to national brands such as Asda, BHS, New Look, Topshop and Primark.