Police target the festive ‘Grinches’

Police launched a special operation to tackle shop-lifters and thefts from shoppers in the run-up to the festive season and during the January sales.

They said the build-up to Christmas and sales always sees a rise in retail theft.

The Sussex Police operation aims to tackle shoplifting by providing greater police presence over the Christmas and New Year period, both through high visibility and covert patrols, offering reassurance to businesses and communities and sending out a strong message to would be thieves.

Through high-visibility patrols, police aim to identify and target offenders by various means, including uniformed and plain clothes patrols, utilising the Shopwatch radio system and CCTV and working in partnership with shops and licensed premises.

Sussex Police will also be working closely with the British Transport Police and revenue protection officers on the rail networks specifically to focus on potential shoplifters who may be travelling between towns.

Shoppers should also be mindful to their own security too, as purse and bag thefts tend to increase as the shops get more crowded and opportunist thieves strike. By taking some simple crime prevention measures, people can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft:

Keep your bag closed and close to you at all times, held securely under your arm or strapped across your body if possible.

Never leave bags unattended on a trolley, pushchair or wheelchair. Never keep your PIN number with your bank cards.