POLICE in Bridlington are targeting shop thieves with a new initiative that bans offenders from town centre stores.
PCSO Bev Feirn, working with the Bridlington Business Watch Partnership, has pioneered the use of exclusion notices which will see offenders barred from premises if they are found stealing.
“What this will allow us to do is to target thieves and give shops the power to ban people from entering their premises,” said PCSO Feirn, who works in the south ward with town centre businesses.
“We have had lots of shops already sign up, which is good news for us. Shop theft is a constant problem, but by working together we can build up a database of knowledge.” The exclusion notices ban offenders from a particular premises for a period of time set by police, which, if broken, can lead to arrest.
“It would depend on how a business owner would want to pursue it, but if police were called and a person refused to leave they could be committing an offence. This is about reducing shop thefts,” PCSO Feirn continued.
Sgt Steve Dove, of the Bridlington Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “I think the use of exclusion notices are an excellent idea, it demonstrates the strong relationship between the police and business, working together to reduce crime and prevent offenders committing crime.
“This sends out a message to thieves that we take the crime seriously.”
The scheme has been supported by businesses large and small, including Tesco and Marks & Spencer.
James White, manager at the Promenades Shopping Centre, said that all town centre businesses “need to support” the introduction of the notices.
“We backed the plans fully. There are large national chains and smaller independent stores within the Promenades and I am sure it will be a great benefit to everyone,” said James.
“We take the issue of shop theft very seriously in the centre and an initiative like this can only help.” Stephen Martin, owner of Peter Arthurs All Size store, spoke to other businesses on Bridge Street about the introduction of the scheme.
“Once I spoke to people about it, they were really enthusiastic and every shop on the street has signed up to the scheme,” said Mr Martin, who has owned the shop for six years.
“The more people who get behind the scheme the more effective it will be. Having stuff pinched is even more of a problem in the summer season as you have stock outside.
“It is difficult enough for businesses in the town as it stands, but it is even worse if things are stolen.”
Terry Webb, who has run George Menswear on King Street for 35 years, was one of the first businesses to sign up to the scheme.
He said: “I think it is a good idea. I know that shop theft is a problem in the town, it’s one thing you do not want. We want to back anything that we can do to help to keep them out.”