An operation to crack down on Christmas thieves who cause misery to shoppers and retailers alike has been launched in Huddersfield town centre.
Sgt Mandy Mellor, who has worked the town centre beat for many years, said Operation Tentsea would result in a highly visible police presence over the festive period.
She said: “We will have specialists come in, PCSOs and volunteers.
“Kirklees police commander, Chief Supt Steve Cotter, and other members of the senior leadership team, will also take part in a bid to reassure the public and the proactive campaign will run until the end of December.
“We will be in and out of the shops giving crime prevention advice to shoppers and staff.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as saying to shoppers that they shouldn’t walk around with their mobile phone hanging out of their back pocket, for example, as it’s an easy target.”
Town centre officer PC Scott Gardner also warned that CCTV would be turned on would-be thieves.
“We will be working with CCTV footage even more closely over this period and there will be a plain-clothes officer element too,” he said.
“There’s a temptation for people to go out and steal their Christmas presents and think you won’t get spotted but the likelihood is that you will.
“The quality of the CCTV is fantastic nowadays.”
And for young people tempted to think about stealing items he had this cautionary story.
He said: “We had a couple of 16-year-old lads detained for shoplifting in Tesco recently who had never been in trouble before and who came from good families.
“They didn’t appear too concerned at first but as soon as they realised they were going home to their parents and would have to tell them what happened their attitudes changed.
“They both apologised and wrote letters to the shopkeepers.
“Their parents made them do that. The matter was dealt with by a community resolution.
“Last year our campaign was unbelievably successful. For example Tesco had just five thefts over the Christmas period which runs from November 23 to December 31 and that was largely down to our proactive measures.”
There will be a West Yorkshire Police stall in Kingsgate between 1pm-4pm on Saturday, December 3 and an exhibition on Macaulay Street near Huddersfield Bus Station on December 8 between 5pm-8pm.
Police say the public sometimes have the idea that shoplifting is a victimless crime but that is far from reality.
Shoplifting has a huge impact on the retail sector with the possibility of jobs being lost or stores shutting down.