More than 50 arrested in shoplifting crackdown

More than 350 people across the Northumbria Police area have been charged with shop thefts during March in a crackdown by officers.

A total of 359 people were charged with shoplifting as part of Operation Soundwave, the forcewide campaign aimed at tackling opportunist thieves.

In addition, 15 people were summonsed to court, while 82 people received a caution.

In North Tyneside 51 people were charges, eight cautioned and one person received a summons.

Ages of those arrested for shoplifting offences ranged from 12 to 76, with the majority of suspects - more than 50% - being aged between 20 and 36-years-old.

Police are continuing to warn thieves there will be no let up as the forcewide crackdown on shop thieves continues during April.

Superintendent Alan Veitch said: “We’re driving out thieves and there is nowhere for them to hide. During March we charged more than 350 people with offences and there will be no let up.

“The majority of those people we are dealing with are known shop thieves who have been arrested before and we’re doing everything we can to put them before the courts to be dealt with.

“But the people we have arrested include young and adult first or second time offenders and we’re keen to emphasis the negative impact being arrested can have on their lives - it’s just not worth it.”

Officers continue to work with the force’s Metro Unit to identify suspects and prevent them travelling to commit crime, while extra patrols will be carried out in busy shopping areas.

Those travelling by road will be targeted by Motor Patrols officers and regular patrols of shopping centres will be taking place throughout the crackdown.

Supt Veitch added: “We’re working with retailers and their store security staff to prevent offences from taking place, ensuring messages about known offenders are communicated through Shopwatch schemes and using CCTV to prevent and detect offences.

“With almost 81% of all shoplifting offences detected out message is clear - you will get caught.

“I’d like to reassure people that operations are continuing to ensure our towns and cities remain a safe place for people to live and visit.”