Specials in crackdown on store thieves

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SPECIAL constables will be used in a new year crackdown on shoplifters after a successful pre-Christmas operation saw five people arrested in one day.

Senior officers said yesterday that the volunteer officers were sent out across South Yorkshire from mid-December as part of a continuing retail crime operation.

The team was sent to what police described as “vulnerable stores” which are repeatedly
targeted, giving shopkeepers advice and working with store detectives.

Chief Insp Gwyn Thomas, who leads the force’s anti-shoplifting efforts said the dedicated retail crime team made up of special constabulary would be set up next month.

He added: “The team will be responsible for regular high-visibility patrols on high streets and in shopping centres and working with shop owners and managers to drive down crime.

“Shoplifting and retail crime remains a priority for the force. The Christmas and new year period is a busy time of year for high streets and shopping centres and we are committed to working with retailers to protect them from opportunistic thieves.”

South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright said: “I understand the trying economic times and the impact this has on crime.

“I am keen to work with local business owners to minimise the impact of crimes such as shoplifting which make a significant impact on people’s livelihoods and the wider community.”