The crackdown on shoplifting in Bolton town centre continues.

And the dedicated taskforce says it has started 2024 exactly the way it means to go on by continuing to crackdown on retail crime.

Police say that shoplifting is an issue in the town centre - as it is across the country.

In Bolton last week, the team secured 26 charges for eight different people, relating to various crimes -shoplifting, theft, and failing to appear at court.

Police say this follows on from 2023’s successes, which saw countless arrests and charges for shoplifting and retail-related crimes.

The Bolton shoplifting team is made up of new recruits being taught by seasoned officers.

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The new officers are deployed around Bolton for a five-week period, before moving on to further operations or patches.

The idea is they are able to see through a crime from arrest to charge and sentencing, helping them learn the basics of policing while tackling shoplifters.

And as a result Bolton subsequently receives officers who are dedicated to tackling shoplifting, while the force benefits from officers being trained and tutored to a high crime-tackling standard.

The officers work closely with local stores and will use a radio that connects them to store security in the area they are patrolling, in order to be able to respond as quickly as possible.

The work is further backed by a retail crime SPOC (single point of contact) for the district, who will liaise with stores, GMP’s crime prevention team, and the force’s retail crime lead to ensure the best work is being done wherever possible.

Sergeant Jess Prudence, from GMP’s Bolton district, said: “Our shoplifting team has been able to help stores by working closely with them to lock-up repeat offenders, provide prevention advice, and assist those in need by giving them the appropriate signposting.

“Shoplifting is a problem that we are committed to tackling and I am sure that the team will continue to deliver throughout 2024. If any stores in the Bolton area would like to get in touch with us, I would urge them to do so, as we can assist them in all things security.

“We post regular updates of our results on our social media pages as well as Bee In The Loop – all Bolton residents should check us out for the latest news and actions.”

Fresh evidence about the increasing problem of thefts from shops was laid bare last month amid a warning that organised shoplifting is now among the most common type of crimes against small firms.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said crimes such as organised shoplifting, drained more than £1,000 from over half of small business victims across England and Wales in the last two years.

The report, based on a survey of 560 small businesses in England and Wales, revealed a growing number of reports of organised shoplifting and threatening behaviour towards shop owners and their staff.