Bradford on Avon launches bid to shop criminals

Wiltshire Times: PCSO Joe Leeds with Shop Watch supporters Ruth Warren of Fetch,town clerk Diana Holmes,Geraldine Burrell of Elise and Val Steele of Budgens PCSO Joe Leeds with Shop Watch supporters Ruth Warren of Fetch,town clerk Diana Holmes,Geraldine Burrell of Elise and Val Steele of Budgens

A scheme to improve the communication between businesses about criminal activity in Bradford on Avon has been resurrected, due to a rise in new shops opening up.

Traders are being encouraged to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and, if a crime does occur, to take down a detailed description before ringing police and Shop Watch co-ordinators.

The four co-ordinators will then ring the first business on their list to warn them. That business will ring the next one on the list and so on, until all 60 businesses on the Shop Watch list are informed.

Caroline Philpott, a co-ordinator, runs Tillions in The Shambles. She said: “The message we are trying to get out is that we are being vigilant and passing on information to the town and surrounding villages.”

Ruth Warren, another co-ordinator, who runs Fetch in The Shambles, said: “Lots of shops are staffed by one person, so the scheme works well if people feel vulnerable.”

Shop Watch was phased out several years ago, as businesses closed and the list constantly changed. But since the Kingston Mills development arrived, trade has increased.

PCSO Joe Leeds said: “Crime levels are low in the town, but this scheme will help combat any anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in the town centre.

“It is a great example of the community working together to not only protect themselves, their staff and their business, but to help protect the community as a whole.”

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