POLICE in Fermanagh are stepping up their efforts to help businesses stamp out retail crime across the county in the run up to Christmas.
Shoplifting remains a major problem for Fermanagh traders who have been feeling the pinch after being hit by a team of professional shoplifters in recent weeks, as reported in this newspaper only last month.
Some retailers have been left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of pounds by cross-border gangs targeting selected stores across towns in distraction thefts.
The PSNI have confirmed increased reports of shoplifting in the Enniskillen area over recent weeks and say they have been working with businesses in a bid to address the problem.
According to stand-out statistics presented to the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Safety Partnership meeting in Omagh last week, incidents involving travelling shoplifting gangs have risen by 29.7 per-cent (from 118 to 153).
Superintendent Jane Humphries, who outlined the mixed fortunes in tackling crime, told the meeting: “There is a problem of shoplifting in Enniskillen. It is a province-wide problem. We regularly have plain clothes beats and have crime prevention officers training sales assistants,” she said.
In a bid to address the problem, the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in conjunction with the PSNI in Fermanagh are now planning to run workshops to help business owners prevent shoplifting in their premises.
The partnership are keen to hear the concerns of the local community on issues effecting retail crime and have organised a series of workshops across the county on the subject. These will take from 10-11am on Tuesday 8th November in the Bawnacre, Irvinestown; Wednesday 9th November at Castlepark Leisure Centre (Lisnaskea) and on Wednesday 16th November in Enniskillen Townhall.
Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership Chairman, Cllr Keith Elliott, said “The PCSP is very mindful of the impact of business crime not only to the business concerned but also the wider community. As we approach the busy Christmas trading period it is even more essential that businesses are equipped with the knowledge to combat this crime. These workshops will provide information on the techniques and methods that shoplifters use and outline the law and any associated requirements that should be considered when handling detections. I would encourage business owners to avail of the support on offer to help keep their business safe from criminals.”
Crime Prevention Officer, David Glass, added that in today’s economic climate, protecting businesses from theft is ever more important: “These workshops will focus on ways the criminals can use your store to aid in their crime and what practical measures can be used to prevent this.”
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