IT MAY only be early October, but we are already starting to see Christmas adverts on TV and festive foods and presents appearing in the shops.
The issue of people stealing from shops is ever-present for police officers, with offenders generally being people who steal to fund a drug habit.
This is not always the case however – sometimes people think that they can get away with an even better bargain than the ones on offer and take food, drink, clothing or smaller electrical items from shops without paying for them.
This issue tends to increase from now until after the New Year, so I want to send a warning out to people this week and say that if you don’t pay for items you take from shops, we will be looking for you.
Our Neighbourhood Policing Team officers work hard to tackle the issue of shoplifting and have built strong links with local business, sharing information on repeat offenders and, in many areas, such as Huddersfield town centre, setting up a business-watch scheme.
Here, businesses in the town centre have access to a radio system with which they can pass information to the police and other business owners.
For example if a shop owner sees a shoplifter that we have made them aware of previously, that information can be shared with other stores so that employees can be on the look out for any suspicious activity.
The public should be reassured that the police have these types of systems in place and that it shows we take the matter seriously.
Offenders should also be aware that we will do everything in our powers to prosecute them and that we work closely with local businesses to share information about repeat offenders.
Not all shoplifters are well known to the police though and this week, to further highlight how important this issue is to us, I am releasing images of several people who we want to talk to in connection with shoplifting offences that have taken place across Huddersfield recently.
These people have been caught on camera in stores at times when crimes have been committed.
They may not be the actual offenders, but if that is the case they may well have seen the suspects committing the crimes.
Either way, we would like to speak to the people in these images and would appeal for the people themselves, or anyone who knows them, to contact us via 0845 6060606.
Our Caught On Camera website, accessed through the main West Yorkshire Police website, has images of people we want to speak to about all manner of crimes.
It also has an online form through which people can send us information anonymously.
Christmas is coming and it is an expensive time for us all, so why let some people get things for free that the rest of us work hard to pay for.