Operation Wonderland: King’s Lynn retailers and police work together to tackle town centre crime during festive season

King's Lynn Vancouver Quarter. Picture: Paul Tibbs

King's Lynn Vancouver Quarter. Picture: Paul Tibbs - Credit: Archant

Retailers will increase their efforts to tackle shoplifting during the festive season in a collaborative operation with police.

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured is SGT Darryl Grief. Pictur

Op Apart is an operation combating retail theft in King's Lynn. Pictured is SGT Darryl Grief. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Operation Apart, which has been renamed Wonderland this month, has seen increases in the number of arrests made in King's Lynn town centre throughout the year. In a monthly meeting with police, retailers are handed profiles of the 20 most prolific offenders operating in the area and discuss ways in which to reduce shoplifting and disorderly behaviour in the area.

As late night shopping commences during the Christmas period, retailers have been urged to stay vigilant.

Sgt Darryl Grief said incidences of begging increases around this time of year, with people sleeping outside shop doors.

He said there has been little police presence in the town centre last month but assured retailers they will see a uniformed officer in the town with the appointment of PC Ollie Gilder as the new town centre beat manager.

Vancouver Quarter manager Abbie Panks. Picture: Ian Burt

Vancouver Quarter manager Abbie Panks. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Sgt Grief said the number of retail crimes has also dropped, with 20 offences recorded in November 2017 compared to 58 in the previous year.


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He said: 'Some were just so fed up of getting caught that they do not commit crime anymore.

'Those who are not in custody we will try to work with on a weekly basis,' Sgt Grief added. 'By making home visits and working with different agencies to get their housing and benefits sorted and try to take away their need for quick money.'

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More than 40 retailers from the town centre and Hardwick have joined the operation since it began this time last year and many have hailed it a success.

Tom Harwood, store manager of Marks and Spencer, said the store has seen a 60pc drop in stock loss worth thousands of pounds.

Russell Greer, a security guard in the town centre Sainsbury's, said the operation has made an 'immense' difference, adding: 'We do not have anymore issues with open drinking, it has made a complete difference.

'You can just see the impact of the operation and the commitment people have put through this year, it is working and should be kept working.'

Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter centre manager, said: 'Anti-social behaviour has dropped right down. It is very good news and hopefully it is long term and not just because the weathers has turned.'

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