Shop staff praised

THE scourge of shoplifting is being fought in Stevenage – and leading the battle is one of the smallest but busiest shops. Now staff at Claire s Accessories in Westgate have been formally thanked for helping to cut the number of offences in the town centr

THE scourge of shoplifting is being fought in Stevenage - and leading the battle is one of the smallest but busiest shops.

Now staff at Claire's Accessories in Westgate have been formally thanked for helping to cut the number of offences in the town centre.

In recognition of all their hard work, the police have taking the unusual step of awarding the manager and staff a commendation for combating thieves.

In one two-week period there were 20 incidents of theft from shops reported to the police. A quarter of these happened at Claire's but in only one case was no offender identified.

Crime prevention officer Mark Montgomery said. "Claire's Accessories is aimed at teenage girls.

"While most of the clientele in the store are intent on buying items to make themselves look nice, there are a minority that think it is better to steal the items rather than pay for them.

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"Unfortunately for them, the staff at Claire's Accessories are very security conscious, and I am glad to see them get this reward for all their hard work.

"Crime prevention is not just a police responsibility. It is everyone's job to reduce crime and prevent disorder. I applaud their efforts in making Stevenage a safer and more pleasant place to shop."

Chief Insp Steve Amoss said: "Our message is shop in Stevenage but if you steal, then prepare for a shock. We take a hard line against crime in Stevenage."

o Over the summer, staff in stores, in conjunction with Retailers Against Crime in Stevenage, worked with the police to reduce incidences of shoplifting throughout the town centre.