Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Police release Belfast shop pickpocket footage

Police in Belfast city centre

Police have warned pickpockets and shoplifters that they will be targeted by officers in the run-up to Christmas.

The PSNI have already pledged an increased presence in Belfast city centre in the festive period following a number of incidents in recent weeks.

During the Christmas lights switch-on at Belfast City Hall last month, groups of youths clashed in the city centre, smashing cars and lighting fires.

On Tuesday, two men were assaulted outside Castle Court shopping centre.

Seven youths were arrested but released, pending police reports.

Opportunistic thieves are traditionally at their most active over the Christmas period and police have warned that they have them in their sights.

On Thursday, a senior police officer said there would be an increase in police numbers in Belfast at Christmas, with officers being drafted in from other districts where necessary.

Police have released a video of an opportunist thief at work in a Belfast store, and reminded shoppers to be on their guard at all times.

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