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Security scheme aims to beat burglars in Bishop Auckland
A SCHEME to improve shop security in Bishop Auckland town centre has been launched following a spate of burglaries earlier this year.
At least 15 premises were burgled in fewer than six weeks in Newgate Steet and Cockton Hill Road between May 1 and June 3.
Premises, which included Thorntons, Ladbrokes, B&Q, Subway, The Chefs Chippy and King James I Academy, were vandalised, safes were stolen and security cameras smashed during the break-ins.
A team of officers from the Bishop Auckland neighbourhood policing team was assigned to tackle the problem and now they are giving business owners the chance to improve their security with the help of a grant.
A number of businesses have now installed burglar alarms and security lights thanks to the external financial contribution.
Neighbourhood Inspector Martin Peace said a crime reduction officer is also being made available to advise people on what was needed to make a building more secure as part of the secure retailers scheme.
“Many of the shops are in the older type of building, which is lovely but not very secure,” he said. “We have had a lot of problems with burglaries.
“We are in a time when businesses are struggling financially and not able to afford to make improvements so any help they can receive will be a big help.
“We have had some take it up already. It is about improving public confidence.”
It is hoped a new police office in Morrisons in the town centre will also help deal with crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively.
In addition to tackling burglaries, officers will be targeting shoplifters in the town centre and at the new Bishop Auckland Shopping Park, in St Helen Auckland, in the run up to Christmas.
Insp Peace added: “We are going to be in and out of the shops and we will divide the officers between the town centre and the St Helen Auckland site. “We want to encourage people to visit both.”
Witnesses to any crime in Bishop Auckland should call neighbourhood policing team on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.