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Fear of shoplifting in Spalding, claims trader




Shopkeepers in Spalding fear a growing tide of shoplifting after an estimated £1,000 worth of goods were stolen from a town centre pharmacy.

Staff at Lloyds Pharmacy, in Market Place, were left "very upset" after thieves targeted the store twice on Monday, May 14.

Lloyds Pharmacy. Photo by Rowland Hobson. METP031213-RH6. (2204765)
Lloyds Pharmacy. Photo by Rowland Hobson. METP031213-RH6. (2204765)

According to Lincolnshire Police, the first incident happened shortly after 11.50am and again at 17:35pm.

Asghar Vanparekh, co-owner of Spalding News, also in Market Place, said: "A member of staff told me that in one of the thefts, a man who knows how to get in the shop without setting the buzzer off had opened the door slightly and took the goods he wanted.

Library picture: Asgar Vanparekh and sales assistant Susan Waltham outside Classic News on Sheep Market. (2177521)
Library picture: Asgar Vanparekh and sales assistant Susan Waltham outside Classic News on Sheep Market. (2177521)

"When the staff noticed it, they challenged him but he just went, getting away with about £1,000 worth of goods.

"The staff were very upset but I think that shoplifters aren't scared or bothered about the police or staff - they just do whatever they like.

"The shoplifters don't have any morals and people are just scared of them.

"They don't want to challenge them, even though shops can't afford to lose that amount of stock because the implications of it could fall back on them, possibly with staff cuts.

A Lloyds Pharmacy spokesman said: "We can confirm that these incidents took place at our Spalding pharmacy.

"Making sure that our colleagues feel safe and supported at work is our top priority and we are committed to fostering a supportive and caring environment for our pharmacy teams.

"We also have an Employee Assistance Programme through which our teams can get advice and counselling."

Figures from the Home Office-accredited Police UK showed that between April 2017 and March 2018, 261 shoplifting incidents took place in Spalding.

This compares with 216 incidents between April 2016 and March 2017, a rise of nearly 21 per cent.

Mr Vanparekh said: "Spalding town centre isn't like it used to be and things have got worse here."

Stuart Brotherton, coordinator of ShopWatch Spalding and Holbeach which provides shop owners with a radio link to police about shoplifters, said: "Shoplifting has been consistently high since the beginning of the year.

Inspector Gareth Boxall and Stuart Brotherton, coordintator of ShopWatch Spalding and Holbeach, outside Spalding Police Station for the launch of pre-Christmas crime campaign, Operation Vivid, in December 2017. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG041217-105TW. (2204685)
Inspector Gareth Boxall and Stuart Brotherton, coordintator of ShopWatch Spalding and Holbeach, outside Spalding Police Station for the launch of pre-Christmas crime campaign, Operation Vivid, in December 2017. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG041217-105TW. (2204685)

Stuart Brotherton, coordinator of ShopWatch Spalding and Holbeach which provides shop owners with a radio link to police about shoplifters, said: "Shoplifting has been consistently high since the beginning of the year.

"Most offences are committed by a small few and it is these individuals whom the courts are not dealing with effectively.

"Shop theft is an easier crime to commit than most, with minimal punishment, so it is no surprise to see these higher levels.

"In the current economic climate, shops aren't abundantly staffed and with many smaller stores financially squeezed, spending large amounts on tightening security isn't viable.

"So we find ourselves stuck on a revolving wheel of perpetual crime which shows no signs of slowing down.

"As regards Lloyds Pharmacy, it is get targeted like numerous other stores, whilst doing its best to deter offenders as an active ShopWatch participant.

"But just like as many other stores in Spalding, staff are frustrated by the lack of adequate action against repeat offenders.

"This is something I have brought to the attention of the Ministry of Justice."

Inspector Gareth Boxall, neighbourhood policing inspector for South Holland, said: "We aim to deal with shoplifting robustly, in recognition of the impact that it has on local businesses and their employees.

"So we work closely with our partners, including the local ShopWatch Scheme, to tackle these crimes."



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