A CRACKDOWN has been launched in the run-up to Christmas to keep shoplifters away from stores.
Police in Durham have set up Operation Fagin, which covers the centre of the city and Mercia and Dragonville shopping centres.
The additional high-visibility presence of the neighbourhood policing team will also be boosted by visits by special police constables and plain-clothes officers.
They will be working closely with shop and security staff using Shopwatch radios and CCTV to monitor bustling shopping areas.
Sergeant Steve Norris said: “Thieves often see the run-up to Christmas as a time when they can steal from shops without being seen.
“To combat this, Operation Fagin will result in an increased number of officers and PCSOs on patrol to deter thieves and where thefts occur, catch those responsible for offences.
“Police in Durham are committed to supporting local business to prevent retail crime that affects their trade.
“The message to those wanting to commit offences is simple: if you’re intent on stealing during the Christmas period, stay away.
“Shoplifting will not be tolerated.”
The effort is part of Operation Safe City, an ongoing campaign to make Durham the safest city in the UK, with its impact to be success of the scheme is measured by rates of crime.