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New measures are being introduced to prevent shoplifters selling on their stolen wares to pubs and their customers.
Nottinghamshire Police has launched Operation Motivation in the hope that these new measures will prevent shoplifters from making money through their crimes.
Shoplifters will often attempt to sell on their stolen goods such as alcohol, tobacco, meat and beauty products to customers at local pubs to fund addictions and other complex needs.
They will also attempt to sell on high-value items to some pubs or an off-licence at a discounted price.
Officers are now working with hundreds of licenced premises across the city and county.
They will be encouraging licenced premises to report any shoplifter who comes into their business and attempts to sell items to customers or staff.
Licensees who turn a blind eye to this behaviour will find themselves in trouble, from a written warning to having their licence revoked.
Inspector Oliver Vale, who is leading the operation, said:
“A lot of shoplifters will steal from local stores and then attempt to sell them quite close to where the crime took place.
“We are aware of shoplifters that will enter pubs and try and sell to customers. We are also aware of shoplifters that will try and sell to venues.
“We want licenced premises to feel empowered and to report this activity and know that we will act.
“Shoplifting is not only a massive blight on businesses but also the community as a whole.
“Businesses have closed due to repeated bouts of shoplifting and then communities lose vital businesses on their doorsteps as a result.
“It also funds other criminality, lining the pockets of organised criminal groups who peddle dangerous drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Nottingham.
“We want to educate and inform. However, for those businesses that actively allow shoplifters to sell on their stolen items within their premises then we will take enforcement action.”
Posters warning of the dangers of buying from shoplifters will be displayed in hundreds of premises across the city and county over the coming months.
Staff guidance packs are also being delivered on what to do if they come across this activity.
This week, officers will be visiting venues across Nottingham city centre, Mansfield, Newark and Worksop.
Inspector Vale added:
“Retailers have been calling for policing to look not only at the root cause of offending but also where these stolen items are disposed of.
“It is clear that thieves will tend to select things that are easy to sell.
“Licenced premises such as pubs have at times been used as a marketplace to sell items quickly and in close proximity to the area from which they were stolen.
“There is also a market for some licenced premises to purchase items such as alcohol and tobacco to re-sell at a massive profit.
“These premises are in the minority and we are lucky in Nottinghamshire to have such a high proportion of professional licensed premises.
“The scope of the campaign is to educate licenced premises on the impact, gather support to prevent premises being used as marketplaces, and to dissuade from purchasing stolen products for re-sale.”
A business that knowingly allows stolen good to be sold by another within their premises will be issued with a written warning.
If there are previous breaches of licence conditions this will be raised to a final written warning or review as appropriate, which could see their business closed.
A business which purchases stolen goods shall have their licence reviewed, which could see their business closed, and shall have criminal proceedings taken against them for handling stolen goods.
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