How shopkeepers used WhatsApp to help in alleged shoplifting case in Alnwick

A WhatsApp group set up by Alnwick traders resulted in the arrest of a suspected shoplifter.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 30th September 2019, 4:12 pm

It came on Saturday after a Harris Tweed bag and purse was reported to have been stolen from the window of Narrowgate shop Ruby Tuesday.

Owner Fiona Nelson van-Loon put some CCTV stills and a warning to other traders on the ‘Alnwick Be Aware’ WhatsApp group and it resulted in a man being arrested.

“It really showed the benefit of the WhatsApp group,” said Fiona. “It was a great example of the community helping out – a big thank you to everyone.

Ruby Tuesday in Alnwick.

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“It’s often easy to assume no-one cares but really, when it matters, the vast majority of people are good and kind and want to help.

“The police have been brilliant too. The fact I have CCTV was crucial though.”

Police revealed that a 43-year-old man had been arrested after the incident and has been summonsed to court.

The WhatsApp group was set up by Andrew Hodgson, managing director of Sportsworld.

Earlier this month, members were able to share information about a suspected shoplifting incident at Penroses on Bondgate Within.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Lisa Aynsley has described the WhatAapp group as ‘invaluable’.

“It’s a fabulous initiative,” she told a Chamber of Trade meeting. “Quite a lot of the businesses have CCTV now and between us I think we can track quite a lot of Alnwick.

Any businesses wanting to be on it should email alnwickchamberoftrade@gmail.com