Six arrested in blitz on shoplifters

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SIX people have been arrested after a police blitz on shoplifters.

Operation Centurion 2 got underway this week in a bid to clampdown on those helping themselves in shops across Washington.

It sees extra officers deployed at the Galleries to work with security teams and local stores through the Shopwatch scheme. They will patrol the shopping centre during the day and evenings to target thieves, while also offering reassurance to shoppers.

Neighbourhood officers will also be out and about on mountain bikes, allowing them to carry out further patrols around the retail park.

Six people have been arrested since the campaign launch, a number of homes have been searched, a vehicle seized and a quantity of stolen property recovered.

Washington Neighbourhood Inspector, Paul Stewart, said: “Anyone caught committing theft will be arrested, their homes may be searched and they face prosecution. It can also severely affect future career choices for young people.

“I’d urge retailers and shoppers to continue reporting suspicious activity to us so we can take action.”

David McNee, The Galleries centre manager, said: “The Galleries Shopping Centre and Retail Park are delighted work with our local neighbourhood officers to ensure they have the resources to help protect our community.”

Michelle Meldrum, deputy director for Gentoo Living, said: “At Gentoo, we are committed to working with other agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime across the city.