More businesses join the retail crime-fighters

A CRIME-FIGHTING initiative continues to bloom as it welcomes its 50th member.

Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, near Hebron, has hit the milestone as the latest business to sign up to the Morpeth Shopwatch scheme.

It follows hot on the heels of fellow new members, the three Co-op stores in Pegswood, Widdrington and Hadston.

The Shopwatch project is well established within the town and surrounding villages as retailers work with police to try to tackle shoplifting. Members can help officers to identify suspects and warn other businesses of customers acting suspiciously.

Morpeth Neighbourhood Inspector Karen Murray said: “We’re pleased to welcome Heighley Gate garden centre and the three Co-op stores to the scheme.

“Members work together to share information with each other and police to tackle retail crime, such as shoplifting. The initiative helps us to identify those responsible for committing this sort of crime, and not only curb their behaviour, but also make sure action is taken to ensure they face the consequences.

“I’d like to remind those who think they can get away with shoplifting that most stores now have good quality CCTV cameras, which are closely monitored. If a shoplifter isn’t arrested instantly, we will meticulously view CCTV to identify those responsible and not hesitate in asking for the public’s help to identify individuals.”

The scheme supports the Northumbria Police ongoing Operation Soundwave, which focuses on acquisition crimes. Across the force,four in every five shoplifters are caught.

To join Morpeth Shopwatch, call police on 101.