STORES in Enniskillen, and the PSNI, are on red alert for shoplifting gangs as the festive season ratchets up.
Just last week, police stopped a vehicle and arrested the occupants on suspicion of theft and handling stolen goods. They subsequently appeared in court and were remanded in custody.
Speaking generally about shoplifting, chief inspector Sue Steen conceded it was a problem.
“We are suffering a little bit, certainly from travelling gangs. In fact, our biggest problem is large travelling gangs, particularly coming from the east and from across the border as well.
“Obviously our focus at the moment is the period coming up to Christmas where we’re probably going to see an increase in visits by this kind of criminal.”
Chief inspector Steen urged store owners to be extra vigilant.
It’s a message which the major stores appear to be heeding.
Stephen Clawson, now a regional manager with Dunnes Stores, told the Herald that the Enniskillen store, which he previously managed, operated an up to date, modern 24-hour system.
“We have had some success, but you have to be vigilant all the time. Coming up to Christmas, it’s very likely to happen.
“It’s a time of year when they realise it is very busy. The staff have been asked to be on the look-out for tell take signs.”
Peter Beckett, the manager of Asda in Enniskillen told the Herald that the store had a strong security team in place.
“Shoplifting at this time of year is a real concern, We find that shoplifting gangs, from Belfast or wherever, seem to come into the rural areas and try to catch us unawares.
“But, we are catching a lot of shoplifting teams, and we are deterring a lot as well.”
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