TRADERS have joined forces with police to keep thieves at bay as a new Shopwatch scheme is launched in Sunderland.
Around 15 shops have joined the Sunderland North Shopwatch scheme – including all those at Roker Retail Park and supermarkets in the surrounding area.
Officers are urging more local businesses to get involved to stop thieves in their tracks during the run up to Christmas.
The new scheme recently held its first meeting and will meet again at the start of December. All members have Shopwatch Apex radios which link them all together and with police.
Those signed up have been given posters and stickers to display to warn thieves the Shopwatch scheme is up and running.
The activity is part of Northumbria Police’s Operation Soundwave, aimed at turning up the volume on crime and silencing opportunist criminals across the force.
Sunderland North Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “Shopwatch schemes are extremely successful and a great way of retailers working together and with police to share information and intelligence about incidents and known thieves.
“We’re rolling out the scheme in Sunderland North and so far 15 premises have signed up, including those at Roker Retail Park and major supermarkets such as Tesco.
“At this time of year the area is becoming much busier as people start Christmas shopping and preparing for the festive season and this is when thieves take advantage.
“And those involved in shoplifting may also be involved in other sorts of thefts, so the link between the shops and police means they can share information about other crimes and anti-social behaviour issues in the area.”
Police can be contacted on 101 ext 69191.