SHOPLIFTERS are being warned that police are watching them.
Officers say there has been an increase in people stealing from shops in Houghton town centre and surrounding areas, such as supermarkets in Hetton and Shiney Row.
Earlier this month, a 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft after reports that goods suspected of being stolen from shops were being sold on in Houghton town centre.
He has been bailed pending further inquiries.
Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove said: “Patrols are being increased and we’re working with retailers to identify those involved and take action.
“Part of the operation also involves finding out where those stolen products are going, and to close the routes thieves use to dispose of stolen property.
“I’d urge anyone who is offered any property for sale or who has information about those involved in thefts in the area, to get in touch with us.
“While it may seem like a low-level crime, it has an impact on everyone – retailers must account for losses in some way and this can lead to price increases and ultimately the reduction in the number of jobs available, which could impact on the wider economy.”
l Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191. To report an ongoing crime, dial 999.