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Shoppers and revellers in Norwich urged not to be victims of crime this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 December 2011

Shoppers and pub and club goers in Norwich are being urged to make it a miserable Christmas, not a happy one, for crooks by keeping their belongings safe.

The plea has been issued by police today, expected to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, as part of Operation Festive, which is aimed at ensuring people keep their valuables safe in the run-up to Christmas.

Police are warning shoppers in the city during the day to keep a close eye on their valuables and make it difficult for opportunistic thieves to snatch bags or purses.

Officers from the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood team are carrying out patrols in shops throughout the city as part of the operation providing a high visibility presence to deter thieves.

Police Community Support Officer Katherine Crowson is one of those patrolling the city giving advice to shoppers, including ensuring their “purses weren’t on show”.

PCSO Crowson said a number of the stores in the city were part of the ALERT scheme – a digital radio system linked to Norwich’s CCTV grid allowing instant 24/7 communication between premises CCTV and police.

While on patrol in the city yesterday, PCSO Crowson received information about an attempted shoplifting offence.

The suspect was followed by store detectives, who kept in contact with police via the ALERT system, and was eventually stopped near Norwich Market where he was detained until police officers arrived to arrest him.

Shoppers who police believe might be vulnerable to theft will be spoken to and offered crime prevention advice, leaflets and are even offered bells to attach to their purse or bag.

Inspector Chris Brooks, pictured, from the City Centre SNT, said: “If you put it on your purse it raises your awareness. The idea is that if you hear it you think someone’s taken your purse out of your bag.

“Even if you think you’ve heard it you look for your purse – it’s just about raising awareness.”

Inspector Brooks said the campaign, which started this month and will run until the end of January, is also concerned with combating a recent rise in the number of thefts of items such as mobile phones and handbags from venues.

The City Centre SNT is stepping up the number of high visibility patrols in the evenings with officers from the licensing team working with venues to raise awareness in a bid to combat thefts.

Insp Brooks said: “At this time of year there are more people heading out into the city at night for social gatherings such as Christmas parties, therefore we are urging them to keep their valuables safe. We are working hard to catch those responsible and will deal robustly with anyone who is caught committing a crime.”

Insp Brooks warned would-be crooks that officers were out there to catch those committing these crimes, but said the onus was on revellers to take care of their property in the first place.

He said: “The message is if you put it down it won’t be there when you go back for it. Please look after your valuables.”

For crime prevention advice contact the City Centre SNT on 101 or email sntcitycentre@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

What do you think? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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