Suspects banned after shoplifting spree

A CRACKDOWN on shoplifters has left more than a dozen people banned from around 50 stores in Ipswich.Pilfering costs businesses nationally at total of nearly £450m a year with much of the cost being passed on to consumers through the commodities on sale.

A CRACKDOWN on shoplifters has left more than a dozen people banned from around 50 stores in Ipswich.

Pilfering costs businesses nationally at total of nearly £450m a year with much of the cost being passed on to consumers through the commodities on sale.

During the lead up to Christmas, Paul Clement of the Ipswich Partnership warned thieves convicted of shoplifting they would be barred from most of the town centre stores.

Suffolk Police inspector Tristan Pepper, who heads the Ipswich town centre sector, said there are 13 people currently prohibited from dozens of shops – some until the start of next year.

If they ignore their bans they could end up facing a more serious charge in court warn police.

Insp Pepper said: "Retailers are saying 'you are not allowed to come in to our premises and if you do you can be regarded as being a burglar instead of a thief'. This is a more serious offence because you are trespassing.

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"Most stores operate on something like a two per cent margin that they have to pass of to the customer in order to account for theft."

Since the beginning of December the war against the pilferers has been reinforced by the addition of 12 community support officers to the town's policing. Insp Pepper said he expected these to be bolstered by three more officers who should be on the streets in April.

He added that businesses have a range of tactics to deter the light-fingered and said: "We encourage shops to operate a disruption policy. If they see someone who they think is about to steal, store detectives are encouraged to tap them on the shoulder and tell them they know what they are up to and ask them to leave. It is an earlier intervention and saves police time."

Although many of the shops which have signed up to the banning order agreement are in the town centre, they also include businesses on the outskirts of Ipswich such as Asda and B&Q.

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