Shoplifters trapped by CCTV

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WOULD-be shoplifters have been warned: “We’re watching you”.

Over the past few months close cooperation between members of the ShopWatch scheme, the police and Fenland District Council’s CCTV operation has resulted in 17 people being arrested for shoplifting and four others being fined.

Most of the arrests happened in Wisbech. They included six – four men and two women – who were caught after offences committed in shops in the Horsefair, the Market Place and near North End. One in March followed a man spotted stealing from a shop in Station Road.

A ShopWatch report also led to another man being detained for assault after he was spotted hitting and harassing a woman following an argument.

In most cases the suspects were reported by ShopWatch members to the CCTV team, who were then able to track the individuals across town while continually updating the police on their movements.

All the incidents were recorded in the three months between June and August. Over that period, CCTV was involved in a total of 933 incidents, with its intervention contributing to 175 arrests or fines.

The most frequent offences related to street drinking. Other arrests involved one in March of a woman wanted by police for outstanding criminal offences as well as several for drink-driving, criminal damage and possession of knives and drugs.

Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community safety, said: “People often don’t realise that the cameras are on them when they try to steal from shops. The close partnership between ourselves, the police and shop owners means that we can spot them and go after them and our joint approach is proving increasingly effective. CCTV continues to be a vital element in our efforts to combat all sorts of crime and antisocial behaviour.”