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Crackdown on Christmas shoplifters

PUBLISHED: 10:14 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:02 05 July 2010

Traders in Lowestoft have joined forces in a crackdown on shoplifting and crime over the festive season.

More than 200 shops in the town have joined a scheme to issue blanket bans on persistent offenders in a bid to reduce retail thefts.

Traders in Lowestoft have joined forces in a crackdown on shoplifting and crime over the festive season.

More than 200 shops in the town have joined a scheme to issue blanket bans on persistent offenders in a bid to reduce retail thefts.

The Lowestoft Exclusion Order (LEO) was revived last year and 216 stores now participate in the free project. The orders work on a three strikes system, with people who commit three offences - such as shoplifting, antisocial behaviour and criminal damage -being banned from all member stores for a year.

The town's CCTV cameras, security staff and police are on the lookout for banned shoppers, who could be hit with antisocial behaviour orders, civil injunctions or extensions of their bans to three years if they breach the LEO.

Sgt Steve Wright, chairman of the Lowestoft Exclusion Order scheme, said: “Naturally, we expect some increase in shoplifting around Christmas, but we feel the LEO programme is having an impact.

“There are about 65 people who have committed one or two offences, but still no one has been banned completely which we are taking as a good sign - people are taking heed of the warnings and understanding the consequences of their actions. It certainly seems to be having the desired effect.”

As well as shops in the town centre, Sgt Wright said that stores further out of town, including some on Westwood Avenue, have signed up to the scheme.

Any shops interested in signing up to the Lowestoft Exclusion Order scheme can contact Sgt Wright on 01986 835300.

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