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Norwich crackdown on stolen goods

PUBLISHED: 07:30 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 July 2010

A customer is pictured giving their thumb print.

A customer is pictured giving their thumb print.

Kate Scotter

A new thumbprint scheme has been launched in Norwich in a bid to stop crooks cashing in on stolen goods.

A new thumbprint scheme has been launched in Norwich in a bid to stop crooks cashing in on stolen goods.

The new initiative, launched by the Heartsease and Thorpe Hamlet Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), will see everyone wishing to trade in second-hand goods at six stores in Norwich asked to give their thumbprint.

It is hoped the scheme will discourage thieves from trying to sell their property on.

Insp Lisa Hooper said: “It's one way of trying to reduce theft and it will deter criminals from even trying to sell their property to the shops who have signed up to the scheme,

“It will put a stop to the flow of stolen goods in the city and in the second hand shops who are the ones who feel the financial cost if stolen items are recovered by police even though they genuinely bought the items from the customer.

“The scheme gives the stores a bit of power as if someone refuses to give a thumbprint, then they have got the right to say they don't want their items.”

A similar scheme has already been running in Yarmouth for several years and there has been a 30pc reduction in burglary.

Under the initiative, customers will be asked to press their thumb on an inkless touch pad, leaving their print with the shop as well completing the stores' normal transaction process.

There is no central database of thumbprints and the only time anyone will have access to them will be if an item is believed to be stolen.

Second hand shops will continue to get a daily list of stolen items and, if any match up, the police will be able to trace the person who has sold it on.

The six stores involved in the scheme are Cash Converters in St Benedict's Street, Bowthorpe and Plumstead Road, Cash Maker, in Anglia Square, Second-hand Land in Magdalen Street and Longs Pledge in Magdalen Street.

Sam Highfield, buyers' manager at Cash Converters, in St Benedict's Street, said: “We've had issues in the past and, if property is seized by the police, then it's us who have paid out and it's not something we want to do as a business.

“Hopefully people trying to sell stolen property will stop coming here completely.”

All shops signed up to the scheme will display posters.

It is the second time in recent months that Norfolk police has introduced fingerprint checking to cut crime. In February, the Spar shop in Hemsby became the first retailer in Norfolk to introduce a machine which stores the fingerprints of customers aged over 18 so they do not have to show their identification when buying alcohol.

Any second-hand shops interested in signing up to the scheme should call the Heartsease and Thorpe Hamlet SNT on 0845 456 4567 or email sntheartseasethorpehamlet@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

What do you think about the scheme? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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