A Christmas campaign to target thefts in Lowestoft town centre has seen more than 90pc of crimes detected.

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As seasonal shopping got underway on November 23, police in Lowestoft began their annual initiative to step up patrols in the town.

Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and their colleagues made high profile uniformed patrols to speak to shoppers, to prevent and detect crime, target criminals and ensure key shopping areas were kept safe for all those coming into town to do their Christmas shopping.

While there was a slight increase in the number of theft crimes – up from 28 last year to 31 this year, for the period from the start of the campaign until December 24 – there was also an increase in the detection rate from around 89pc last year to 90.3pc this year.

Like last year there was just one purse theft during the festive period.

Insp Richard Hill, of the Lowestoft North Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Police officers and Police Community Support Officers worked closely with Waveney CCTV staff and shop security personnel to deal with thieves and 13 individuals were charged with theft from shop offences, some with more than one crime, with four more people receiving cautions.

“While the number of crimes is slightly up on last year it is down by two offences on 2011 and we are pleased that more than 90pc of the offences have been detected thanks to this partnership working between stores, CCTV and police.”

Sgt Steve Wright, who oversaw policing of the town centre during the campaign, said: “All of the figures since the campaign started are a vast improvement from where we were in 2008 without the operation where there were 42 crimes and a 78pc detection rate.

“During the campaign we also issued 81 fixed penalty notices for parking offences in the town centre as we know this has been a concern for many local business people and residents.

“We have had numerous complaints about parking, particularly the abuse of the disabled and loading bays, and we hope this has sent a message that we will take action on other issues that have been raised.”

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