On right wavelength to target shop crime

Kirkham town centre

Kirkham town centre

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TRADERS and police are to be linked up by radio to hunt out high street criminals in parts of Fylde.

Nine businesses in Kirkham and Wesham are operating the radios, which allow them to make contact with on-duty members of the local neighbourhood police team.

The scheme, similar to one which already operates in St Annes, has been set up with £4,000 of funding from Fylde Council’s Community Safety programme and a further £1,000 from the crime fighting charity LANPAC.

The Kirkham and Wesham Business Group is funding the annual licence needed to run the scheme.

Sgt Niamh O’Donoghue, of Kirkham’s neighbourhood police team, said: “Kirkham and Wesham are both safe places to go shopping.

“However, over the years businesses have been targeted by local criminals and those who have travelled to the area to commit offences, including using counterfeit notes, purse dipping and scams aimed at confusing shop assistants so that they hand over cash.

“The radios will enable the business community to forewarn each other of any suspicious activity and work together so that Kirkham and Wesham remain great places to do shop and do business.”

Coun Elaine Silverwood, who chairs the Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, said: “This money has been a long time in coming but the scheme will be worth every penny when the radios are in the shopkeepers’ hands.

“A small number of criminals have been a nuisance to shopkeepers for too long.”

Coun Cheryl Little, Fylde Council cabinet member for social wellbeing, added: “We want the economy in Kirkham and Wesham to flourish – and that means helping shopkeepers deter criminals.

“Shopkeepers and shoppers are vital to any busy town centre and they can now have the confidence they need to discourage crime in the first place.”

Any other business in Kirkham or Wesham which would like its own radio and to be part of the partnership can contact the neighbourhood police team by calling into Kirkham Police station or emailing Kirkham.NPT@lancashire.pnn.police.uk.

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