A crackdown on shoplifting in Bexhill has now netted almost 30 suspected thieves.
Sussex Police launched Operation Papio earlier this year after a flurry of thefts from local shops and the Observer had earlier reported how police had made a dozen arrests after starting the drive in mid-February.
That number has now risen to 29 and officers have reiterated their promise to catch anyone who thinks they can get away with pilfering from local businesses.
Operation Papio has seen dedicated police patrols being sent out in areas which have been worst hit in a bid to provide a high visibility deterrent to potential thieves – stopping crimes before they are committed while making sure officers are on hand to react to any offences which do take place.
This high profile policing approach has also been complimented by a team of undercover officers working in the area who have been able to discreetly patrol local shops and catch unsuspecting shoplifters in the act.
Some of those arrested have come from outside Bexhill borders suggesting local shops have been targeted by people travelling to Bexhill.
Sergeant Mark Evans of the Bexhill Neighbourhood Policing Team said his team was committed to keep working with local traders to tackle shoplifting in Bexhill.
He said: “We continue to tackle those who believe Bexhill is a soft touch in order to commit crime.
“My message to those individuals is clear,” he said. “If you commit crime in Bexhill we will identify you, track you down, and arrest you.”
Local shop keepers are advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police by calling 101 (non-emergency) or dialling 999 if a crime is taking place.