28 Northumberland arrests in blitz on shoplifters

Police carrying out a forcewide crackdown on shoplifting have arrested 28 people in Northumberland as part of a winter campaign to stop thieves in their tracks.

The Northumbria Police crackdown, which launched at the end of November, has seen 350 people arrested across the force area for shop thefts.

The operation has resulted in a reduction in shoplifting offences compared to the weeks preceding the launch of the operation, while the detection rate stands at almost 80% - meaning four out of every five offences are detected.

The crackdown was launched as part of Operation Soundwave - the Northumbria Police campaign aimed at tackling those involved in theft and burglary across the force during the festive season.

Northumbria Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Gary Calvert said: “The operation has so far been successful with hundreds of arrests and a reduction in offences across the force.

“Activity has included officers working on the Metro system each day to identify suspects and prevent people from travelling to commit crime, while the Mounted section have been providing extra visibility in shopping areas.

“The aim was to reduce shop thefts during a time when our towns and cities are crowded with Christmas shoppers and when shop thefts historically rise and we’ve so far seen positive results.

“The activity will continue over the coming days and into January as the sales continue.”

Activity has also included extra high-profile and plain-clothes patrols to prevent thefts from taking place.

Officers have also been working with retailers and shop security staff and using CCTV and Shopwatch schemes to identify suspects and take action.

Known offenders have been pro-actively targeted throughout and warned about the operation and anyone arrested has, where appropriate, been given bail conditions preventing them from entering town and city centres.

Local figures:

Sunderland - Arrests - 66

South Tyneside - Arrests 48

Gateshead - Arrests 40

North Tyneside - Arrests 45

Newcastle - Arrests 118

Northumberland - Arrests 28