Operation to target shoplifters already having an impact

Police charged 35 people in Northumberland with shop theft offences during the first month of a Northumbria Police crackdown.

They were among the hundreds of people arrested as part of the forcewide campaign aimed at tackling opportunist thieves, Operation Soundwave.

In addition, three people from the county were summonsed to court, while nine received a caution.

The majority of suspects were aged between 20 and 36 years old.

Superintendent Alan Veitch said: “We’re driving out thieves and there is nowhere for them to hide. During March we charged more than 350 people with offences across the force area and there will be no let up.

“The majority of those people we are dealing with are known shop thieves who have been arrested before and we’re doing everything we can to put them before the courts to be dealt with.

“But the people we have arrested also include young and adult first or second time offenders and we’re keen to emphasise the negative impact being arrested can have on their lives – it’s just not worth it.”

Those travelling by road will be targeted by motor patrols and there will be regular patrols of shopping centres throughout the crackdown.