Shoplifters to get town wide ban

CONVICTED shoplifters are to face bans from all Ipswich stores – other than chemists – if a get-tough policy is given the nod.

georgina.wroe@eveningstar.co,uk

crime correspondent>

CONVICTED shoplifters are to face bans from all Ipswich stores – other than chemists – if a get-tough policy is given the nod.

The swingeing policy, part of a clampdown by Ipswich Against Retail Crime (IPARC), is already in operation in Liverpool, Bolton and Great Yarmouth.

It mirrors the Pubwatch scheme in which troublemakers banned from one pub automatically are barred from every Ipswich pub.

Borough council town centre manager John Stebbings, said: "We are currently investigating a banning system on up to 25 offenders. There are legal implications of having such a ban."

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Rights issues mean the offenders, or "targets" as they are known, must have access to a chemist and the benefits agency, he added.

Mr Stebbings, who liaises with police on the Crime Reduction Initiative, said: "There is currently a mechanism whereby retail members of the scheme are made aware of convicted shoplifters in the area. A ban would be the next step."

The current scheme has 50 members in the Ipswich town centre including

Debenhams, Allders, Marks and Spencer and Woolworths.

Crime reduction officers are hoping the scheme will be up and running in time to catch Christmas thieves.

* Landlords from the Emperor Inn, Steamboat Tavern and the Suffolk Punch were among those attending yesterday's Pubwatch meeting at PJ McGinty.

The next AGM will be at the Suffolk Punch on Norwich Road on 10 September at 9.30am. Publicans wishing to attend should contact Michael Collins, PJ McGinty's landlord, on 01473 251515.

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