A sting operation targeting shoplifters in Bexhill resulted in a dozen arrests and a drop in the number of reported thefts.
Local shops had reported a spike in people pinching from their stores and as a result of this Bexhill Police launched Operation Papio and so far the outcome appears positive.
From the middle of last month officers were sent out on patrol in the areas of the town worst hit by the upsurge in shoplifting in a bid to provide a highly visible police presence and hopefully deter potential offenders.
The plan also meant the police were in a position to react more quickly to any reports of theft.
This high profile policing was complimented by a team of undercover officers who have been able to discreetly patrol local shops and catch unsuspecting shoplifters in the act.
A dozen people have been arrested as a result of the blitz – including James Goobie, 33, of Denham Close, St Leonards, Louise Kaukolahti, 40, of Buxton Drive, Bexhill, and Jessica Hay, 23, of Battle Road, St Leonards. All three were charged with theft.
Sergeant Mark Evans of the Bexhill Neighbourhood Policing Team was delighted with the results.
He said: “We are committed to working with partner agencies and local traders to tackle shoplifting in Bexhill.
“Since starting Operation Papio, we have seen 12 individuals arrested and dealt with through the criminal justice system.
“We continue to tackle those who believe Bexhill is a soft touch in order to commit crime.
“As always please remember to be vigilant to suspicious activity by reporting it to us at the earliest opportunity.
“Call 101 (non-emergency). Always dial 999 in an emergency.”
And he had serious words for anyone planning to head out on a shoplifting spree or thieves intent on targeting local businesses.
“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.”