Retailers in King’s Lynn working closely with police to catch shoplifters in Operation Apart

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured are (from left) PCSO Mickey

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured are (from left) PCSO Mickey Clark, SGT Darryl Grief and PC Gary Morris. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A collaborative operation between retailers and the police has seen a rise in the number of arrests made in the town centre.

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured are (R) PCSO Mickey Clark a

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured are (R) PCSO Mickey Clark and PC Gary Morris. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Retailers from King's Lynn town centre and Hardwick have joined Operation Apart with King's Lynn police in a bid to tackle shoplifting and disorderly behaviour.

In a monthly meeting with the police, shop owners are given a profile of the 20 most prolific shoplifters operating in the area, before talking through the best methods of catching shoplifters red-handed.

Stores are able to contact the police and with each other to raise the alarm whenever a known shoplifter is suspected to have stolen goods or have bail conditions not to be in the area.

Police hope the operation will give retailers a chance to work closely with the newly-appointed town centre beat bobby, PC Gary Morris.

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured is PC Gary Morris. Picture:

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured is PC Gary Morris. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

He will be taking over from 'cardboard copper' PC Mick Futter, who is retiring after 26 years with King's Lynn police.

PC Morris said: 'My aim is to keep up that engagement with retailers and continuing the message that town centre is not a place to commit theft - a lot of people think shoplifting is a victimless crime.

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'The engagement with retailers will mean listening to their problems and coming up with plans.'

Sgt Darryl Grief said since the operation officially launched earlier this year, more shoplifters have been jailed or given a suspended prison sentence.

Sgt Grief said: 'We are making far more arrests and recovering more property. Prolific thieves are not being seen in the town centre as we are being more stringent with bail conditions.

'It's almost like Big Brother is watching.'

So far 23 retailers have joined the operation, including independent clothing store Designs in New Conduit Street.

Owner Debbie Lewis said shoplifting hits independent shops the hardest.

She added: 'Taking from me is personal. We're on the ball when it comes to shoplifters but this operation acts as a safety blanket.

'Before I wouldn't know what shoplifters were around and where they have committed theft in other shops. Now the police are here immediately and the group works together well.'

Shop owners who would like to join Operation Apart should contact Lynn police on 101.

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