Police crackdown on Christmas crooks

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FESTIVE thieves are being targeted in a Christmas crackdown on crooks.

Durham Constabulary has launched a specialist squad of officers as it increases patrols in the run-up to Christmas.

It is also hunting known, prolific thieves as well as opportunists who look to make a gain from the busy streets and stores.

Now they have turned to the public for help to trace these men after the images were first circulated around police stations across its area and neighbouring forces but failed to identify the shoppers.

Officers are using social media sites Facebook and Twitter in a bid to trace them and are also calling on Echo readers to help them in their effort to bring the criminals to justice following a number of crimes in East Durham over recent months.

Pc Julie Fox, a member of the retail crime team, said: “Shoplifting costs businesses millions of pounds a year through lost profit and costs of implementing security measures.

“This impact has a knock-on effect which is passed back down to the shopper who are already struggling to manage their finances through the current economic climate.

“We have also linked in with Northumbria and Cleveland as several offenders who have been arrested resided in the Sunderland and Hartlepool areas, so potentially the unidentified offenders may be from the Sunderland area.”

Several images posted online have already resulted in police tracing people to question.

Among those police still want to trace are these men, who police hope can help them track down who is responsible for thefts.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham