Shoplifters warned: Stay out of town

MORE than 300 shoplifters have been threatened with 12-month expulsions from shops in Ipswich town centre in the last year, it emerged today.

MORE than 300 shoplifters have been threatened with 12-month expulsions from shops in Ipswich town centre in the last year, it emerged today.

Out of the 335 pilferers and troublemakers who have been issued with warnings since the exclusion scheme was set up last February, nearly ten per cent have re-offended. They are now barred from around 120 premises.

Ipswich Central, which is funded by businesses to look after services in the town centre, said the vast majority of the transgressors were caught stealing.

If any of the 34 people currently excluded breach their one-year bans, they risk being given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) or Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Crasbo).


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Ipswich Central said the scheme to exile persistent troublemakers is just one tactic it employs.

Ben Collins, operations manager, said: “Ipswich Central's Safe and Secure project has introduced a powerful array of measures to help reduce business crime resulting in customers and staff feeling safer.

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“The message from town centre businesses is clear. We don't want troublemakers and thieves operating here and there are systems in place to ensure that if you do, you will suffer the consequences.”

Despite the stark warning Mr Collins was keen to play down any fear of crime escalating in the town centre.

He said: “Ipswich town centre is a welcoming place to visit and the various security projects in place are going a long way to ensure it continues to be a pleasant environment to shop, visit and work.

“It is re-assuring to know that of the 335 people who have been issued with a warning, less than ten per cent have been caught re-offending.”

Among the raft of other initiatives running alongside the exclusion scheme are Radiolink, which keeps police, CCTV, street rangers and shop users in constant communication with each other through 150 radios.

The street rangers are police accredited. With selective and targeted powers they are able to tackle some low level crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as issue exclusions.

Through its endeavours, Ipswich Central said it has also been able to cut the number of incidents involving graffiti down over the past two years from nearly 300 to less than 150.

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