RETAILERS across the district are teaming up to stop prolific shoplifters in their tracks.
Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre in Castleford is part of a crime-busting business partnership to ban serial thieves targeting Wakefield’s shops.
Wakefield Area Business Against Crime (WABAC) group – which includes Carlton Lanes and Wakefield city centre’s Trinity Walk and The Ridings – have barred seven repeat offenders from the outlets following months of teamwork.
David Bailey, manager at the Carlton Street centre, said: “We submit information onto the intranet system about potential criminals and any that keep coming up, the partnership works together to get them banned.
“For the people that keep coming back and doing it, it sends a message across that you get barred, and it seems to be working.”
Seven offenders have been barred from all WABAC premises for a period of two years as part of the exclusion notice zone scheme. They have been identified as responsible for a significantly high proportion of offending and anti-social behaviour in the area.
The details of the individuals and their mugshots have been circulated to all WABAC business members, who work alongside WABAC’S crime manager, Steve Hunt, Wakefield Council’s anti-social behaviour unit and neighbourhood policing teams.
Mr Hunt said: “The exclusion protects staff from physical violence, intimidation and verbal abuse creating a safer environment for staff, customers and the public.
“It also frees up resources otherwise spent observing and apprehending persistent offenders and encourages greater economic investment in our community.”
WABAC businesses are briefed to ask any excluded person to leave business premises immediately and on every occasion they enter, despite the fact that the individual may not have committed an offence against that business.
Mr Bailey said: “This creates good business links, with schemes like this there’s nationwide companies involved and a lot of resources become available.
“It’s about working together to make it a safer environment to shop. I would recommend it to other business and other towns and we hope other shops will come on board.”