October 22 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk chief reporter
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
A spate of thefts from shops in Sudbury has led to a police initiative to crack down on the culprits, who are believed to be travelling to the town by train and stealing ‘high value’ items to order.
According to local officers, health food shops are being targeted, with slimming pills worth around £60 per packet top of the shoplifters’ lists.
In addition, supermarkets in the town have lost expensive meat and bottles of champagne, while other shops have lost ‘Yankee’ designer scented candles.
In a presentation to Sudbury Town Council, PCSO Andrea Campbell said curbing the thefts was now one of the town’s main priorities.
Officers are looking to relaunch the community ‘Shop Watch’ scheme in Sudbury and have been in contact with police in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich for advice.
PCSO Campbell said: “Several shops in the town centre have experienced high value thefts and this situation is ongoing.
“A number of people have already been caught and charged with some of these offences and the information we have suggests that the offenders are from outside the area and are arriving on the train and exiting the same way.
“We have been in discussion with fellow officers in other Suffolk towns where they have been experiencing similar problems and this has now been set as a priority issue for us.”
There has also been an increase in bag and purse theft in Sudbury according to PCSO Campbell, who added: “Waitrose recently caught a bag thief in the store and detained him until police officers arrived. We are treating bag and purse theft as priorities too.
“We have been going in to charity shops to talk to elderly or more vulnerable people, pointing out the possible dangers and making sure their property is secure.
“We are looking to relaunch Shop Watch and we have had an increase in plain clothes police patrols around the town to help combat both problems.”
Sudbury was the first town in the Babergh area to introduce a Street Watch scheme, where volunteers patrol the streets in high visibility vests and report any suspicious activity to police. PCSO Campbell said the initiative was still going strong with volunteers producing useful monthly reports.