“SPECIAL” treatment is to be handed out to light-fingered thieves across Sunderland.
Special Constables are joining extra patrols taking place in the city centre and retail areas as part of a force-wide crackdown on shop thefts.
Known offenders in the city centre will be stopped and spoken to and warned there is no hiding place as officers work with shop security staff and the Bridges Shopping Centre security team to prevent offences.
Anyone who is arrested for shop theft will, if appropriate, be given bail conditions banning them from the city centre and retail areas.
During the past three months there have been almost 200 thefts from shops across Sunderland’s retail areas and supermarkets.
Sergeant Lisa Laverick, of Northumbria Police, said: “We’re flooding Sunderland city centre and retail areas with officers, and Special Constables are playing a key role in these extra patrols.
“This operation is about providing a visible policing presence in and around retail outlets to not only prevent and deter offences taking place, but also reassure members of the public that Sunderland is a safe and vibrant place to shop and socialise.
“Much of shoplifting is largely opportunist and we’re keen to get the message out to people that a split second bad decision to steal could ultimately result in them being arrested and receiving a criminal record, impacting on the rest of their lives. It’s just not worth it.”