Blackwood High Street traders declare war on shoplifters

South Wales Argus: CRACKDOWN: Blackwood High Street CRACKDOWN: Blackwood High Street

AFTER being blighted by petty thefts for over a year, shopowners on one of Gwent’s busiest streets have declared war on shoplifters.

Between June and August alone, police made 23 arrests in Blackwood following 30 incidents.

This followed another 24 arrests for the three months previously after there were 30 incidents of shoplifting between March and May.

Items such as alcohol, foods, toiletries and clothing were taken, and now groups and organisations on Blackwood High Street are joining together to try and address the problem.

A crackdown was launched involving local traders, Gwent Police and Caerphilly council to try and cut down a figure that has remained consistently high for over a year - for 2011/12, there were 150 incidents with 128 arrests.

Offenders vary in age from teenagers to 80-year-old Irene Topping of Summerfield Terrace, Fleur-de-Lys, who was given a conditional discharge last month after admitting stealing groceries worth £23.22, including a pork pie, from B&M Bargains.

Police officers have now started conducting patrols in uniform and plain-clothed, while council CCTV operators are monitoring the town centre more closely.

Blackwood Retail Partnership involves 25 businesses, whose security staff and store detectives are sharing information.

Partnership chairman Huw Edwards, who runs Tidal Stores warned offenders: "Blackwood High Street remains one of the busiest in the county and has an excellent mix of independent and national shops for the honest shopper. Those shoppers who aren’t honest, be warned, we are watching and you will be caught."

Blackwood inspector Mark Smith said arrests are being made regularly, which is sending out a clear message to people who think they can visit the town in order to steal.

Comments (3)

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10:37am Sun 23 Sep 12

Mervyn James says...

We don't get these problems in Newport, we found a way to stop it all, we closed the shops.... sorted.
We don't get these problems in Newport, we found a way to stop it all, we closed the shops.... sorted. Mervyn James

8:05pm Sun 23 Sep 12

Cwmderi says...

Well said Mervyn
Blackwood High Street could face something similar to Newport if local councillors in the Blackwood area have their way and open up new 'Edge of Town' retail development that they are so supportive of.
Blackwood high street is still one of the most vibrant of any of the valley towns but would come under serious threat if more and more out of town retail development was introduced.
Neither would such development deter the shoplifters, it would simply move them on to the new retail sites out of town.
Perhaps the multi national stores can afford extensive surveillance at their stores but small family businesses suffer disproportionately from this scourge.
Well said Mervyn Blackwood High Street could face something similar to Newport if local councillors in the Blackwood area have their way and open up new 'Edge of Town' retail development that they are so supportive of. Blackwood high street is still one of the most vibrant of any of the valley towns but would come under serious threat if more and more out of town retail development was introduced. Neither would such development deter the shoplifters, it would simply move them on to the new retail sites out of town. Perhaps the multi national stores can afford extensive surveillance at their stores but small family businesses suffer disproportionately from this scourge. Cwmderi

8:53pm Sun 23 Sep 12

gingertom says...

If this was article was about bargoed then the council would move mountains.
Blackwood and going down the valley to villages like crosskeys, pontywaun, cwmcarn, abercarn, newbridge, croespenmaen, oakdale have no facilities for the young, old and disabled but never mind 90 million is spent on bargoed which includes 5 million on a cinema.
No cinema for any other area though like blackwood which could go on the retail park.
If this was article was about bargoed then the council would move mountains. Blackwood and going down the valley to villages like crosskeys, pontywaun, cwmcarn, abercarn, newbridge, croespenmaen, oakdale have no facilities for the young, old and disabled but never mind 90 million is spent on bargoed which includes 5 million on a cinema. No cinema for any other area though like blackwood which could go on the retail park. gingertom

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