SHOPKEEPERS have been given a helping hand to keep crime at bay.
Retailers at The Nook in Prince Edward Road, South Shields, are being kitted out with new radios as part of a shopwatch scheme, and a new CCTV camera has been put up too.
The equipment will allow staff to report crimes more quickly to police, as well as to alert other traders that thieves could be heading their way.
The radios have been paid for by Northumbria police and crime commissioner Vera Baird’s community fund.
Neighbourhood beat manager Pc Neil Morris added: “We’re extremely grateful to the commissioner, whose community fund has allowed us to purchase this new equipment.
“This will enable the shops to report crimes more quickly and help identify those responsible, which, in turn, will enable swifter arrests and prosecutions.”
Mrs Baird said: “The Nook is a vibrant shopping area with great community spirit. We want to make sure it stays that way and remains a pleasant place for shoppers and traders.
“Shopwatch schemes are extremely successful and an excellent way of retailers working together with the police to share information.”
The move has been backed by South Tyneside Council’s East Shields and Whitburn community area forum.
The camera’s installation was made possible by the council’s safer neighbourhood team and South Tyneside Homes.
The radio and CCTV equipment connects to the council’s control room.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at the council, said: “Shoplifting is a national issue. However, here in South Tyneside, we are taking a proactive multi-agency approach to reducing incidences across the borough.
“The new radio network for traders at The Nook is just one of the ways we are working to tackle the issue, strengthen our crime prevention efforts and support local businesses.
“The addition of the CCTV means that offenders can also be tracked on camera, providing vital footage for police in securing a prosecution.”
Shopwatch schemes in other parts of South Tyneside, such as South Shields town centre, have already proved successful, with a 90 per cent shoplifting detection rate.