SHOPKEEPERS across Huddersfield have given a big thumbs-up to a crime-busting scheme.
They claim the new scheme has slashed crime and made their businesses and their communities more secure.
Kirklees Community Safety Partnership has invested almost £50,000 to equip the owners of small businesses across Kirklees with radio-phones, CCTV and security shutters.
Today, that investment was hailed a success by the retailers who say their businesses are now much more secure.
Mr Graham Rushworth, who owns Natural Choice in Marsh, said: "About a year ago the shops on Westbourne Road were being targeted by thieves and other undesirable characters, so quite a large number of shopkeepers from the area signed up for this scheme.
"We all received small radios which link us to one another, and to the police, so we can get help and support as soon as it is needed.
"And to be absolutely honest with you, this has worked a treat. I think we feel a lot more secure, our staff feel more secure – and the community at large feels better protected."
The scheme supports over 100 retailers throughout Kirklees and operates in Marsden, Meltham, Holmfirth, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Lockwood, Berry Brow and Marsh.
Money has also been given to individual retailers to pay for CCTV and for security shutters.
Clr Ann Raistrick, who chairs the Kirklees Community Safety Partnership, backed the retailers.
She said: "I have first-hand knowledge of how effective the radio link scheme has been in my own ward of Cleckheaton.
"These schemes give additional confidence to small retailers in our town and village centres.
"This helps these centres to thrive and this surely assists the community as a whole."
Manager of the partnership, Mr Simon Massey, said:
"Supporting small retailers is all part of our crime reduction plan and we are delighted this scheme has worked so well, not only in Marsh but in all the other parts of Kirklees as well."
The problems were particularly bad in Marsh. Shopkeepers had several burglaries and thefts plus problems with criminal damage. There were also serious assaults.