By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Sydney police officers have worked with retailers throughout May to crackdown on shoplifters, in a targeted operation that resulted in almost 100 arrests.

“Operation Lightfingers” was set up to target shoplifters in shopping centres and retail chains, both as a means of apprehending perpetrators and as a deterrent to other would-be thieves, according to a report released by NSW Police.

As a part of the operation, police from Redfern Region Enforcement Squad arrested 92 people and charged them with 117 offences. Completed in two phases, Operation Lightfingers began in Miranda from 5 – 7 May, and wrapped up from 24 – 28 May in a series of stores across Sydney’s CBD.

Police worked in conjunction with loss prevention staff from a number of department stores, and during the crackdown “recovered more than $26,000 in stolen goods,” the report said.

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell, said that the campaign was a positive result for retailers, and was carried out with the help of retail staff.

“It’s always pleasing to see police and the retail sector working hand-in-hand to stop shoplifters in their tracks,” said Bell. “Thieves seeking to capitalise on opportunistic crime are under more scrutiny than ever, with both uniformed and undercover police patrolling stores across the state.

“The department stores are also doing their bit with skilled security staff and improved surveillance technology,” he said. “Retail theft is generally an opportunistic crime, with those committing the offences often looking at small, easily concealed items.

“The NSW Police Force works with retailers to look at ways of reducing or eliminating crime in the retail sector…We are confident this operation will send a warning that shoplifting and unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will continue to run these types of operations in the future using both uniformed and plain-clothes police,” Detective Chief Inspector Bell said.