ANDOVER police have launched a campaign named Operation Scrooge in a bid to deter shoplifters in the run-up to Christmas.

Officers from its neighbourhood policing team will begin the prevention measures from Saturday, November 24, with a crime prevention stall in High Street to remind shoppers of how they can protect themselves and their property.

Operation Scrooge will see police liaise with retailers, give advice to shoppers and carry out high-visibility patrols in Andover town centre and its retail parks.

Sergeant Mike Thorne, of Andover’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “As Christmas approaches, more and more people will be out and about in our town’s shops and banks.

“Andover is a safe place to live and work but it is not immune to people who wish to take advantage of shoppers and businesses at this time of year.

“The aim of our operation is to deter and detect crime and provide reassurance to the public and businesses.

“We will continue to use tactics that have proved successful in previous years to make sure those who commit crime in the town centre are dealt with robustly.”

Among the advice being given to shoppers is never to leave a bag unattended in a trolley, try to pay for items on a debit card rather than carrying cash and try to keep wallets in an inside pocket and out of sight.

For businesses, police have said to be alert when taking deliveries, keep high value items close to staff when displayed on the shop floor and log any suspicious activity, to name a few examples.

The campaign will continue until December 31.

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