Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Shoplifters hit in crime scheme

Person looking in shop window
Crime initiative to be rolled out across Northern Ireland

A retail crime initiative which has led to more than 2,300 shoplifters being banned from Belfast stores, is to be rolled out across Northern Ireland.

There has been a 50% drop in stock loss among the 300 outlets which have participated in the Retail Crimewatch Scheme in the city since 2004.

The initiative allows business owners to share data on criminals.

Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins praised the scheme and said shoplifters were "a real drain on our economy".

Speaking at the launch of a similar project in Londonderry on Tuesday, Mr Goggins said the success of the scheme was encouraging.

"I am confident that the development of a similar scheme here in Foyle, and the eventual roll-out across all policing districts in Northern Ireland, will realise similar reductions in retail crime, helping to detect, frustrate and prevent this type of illegal activity," he said.

The government plans to establish the scheme across all of Northern Ireland's policing districts at a cost of 170,000 over the next three years.

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