POLICE say more than a hundred charges for shop theft have been made in the last two weeks as part of a major crackdown on shoplifting. 

Essex Police have secured 112 charges against 37 people for theft alongside a further six charges for assault against retail workers. 

So far this year more than 594 arrests relating to shop thefts have been made and of these 114 were in the last two weeks. 

It comes amid a big campaign by Essex Police to tackle shoplifting in the county. 

The ongoing problem with shoplifting has resulted in a total of 53 arrests between May 6 and 19 with 15 in Southend, 11 in Thurrock, ten in the Tendring district, five in Colchester, four in Basildon, three in both Chelmsford and Harlow, one in the Rochford district and one at Stansted Airport.

Investigations are still ongoing into cases involving eight people, while no further action to be taken against four others, but another four will receive community resolutions.

Essex Police's specialist Business Crime Team works with local officers to apply for criminal behaviour orders (CBO) against the most persistent offenders.

Two of those charged with shoplifting offences this week will have applications for CBOs, which will be imposed on them if they are sentenced to court.

Business Crime Team member, Sgt Christian Denning, said: “While being arrested, charged and brought before court for shoplifting can be a huge wake-up call for some, other offenders steal persistently.

“We will ask the courts to impose CBOs on such prolific offenders because we can seek various conditions – such as the requirement to attend drink or drugs treatment.

“In this way, we look to limit the damage such offending can have on retail staff and the stores themselves and prevent the cycle of reoffending from continuing by removing the root causes of offending.

“If an offender ignores a CBO, they can be put back before the court, which can impose a jail term, a fine or both, if they are convicted of breaching it.”

Essex Police’ Business Crime Team works with the National Business Crime Centre and specialises in supporting businesses and is working to build relationships with independent shops and retail chains.

The Business Crime Team explains to business and shop owners how they can report crime, and what will happen once they have.

For more information on Essex Police’ Business Crime Team, visit crimstoppers-uk.org