Police have revealed a crooks’ ‘shopping list’ of goods swiped by Scarborough store thieves over the past 18 months.
Exclusive figures obtained from North Yorkshire Police by the Scarborough News show that shoplifters in Scarborough area are predominantly targeting clothing and cosmetics.
However thieves are also turning their sights on pricey goods such as laptops, mobile phones, and jewellery.
Bizarrely, thieves have even swiped three pairs of false teeth. Other items stolen included an antique pistol, as well as the shocking theft of a British Legion charity box on Remembrance Sunday.
In total, police figures show that between January 2011 and June 2012, there had been 1,135 recorded incidents of shoplifting, leading to 874 arrests.
Inspector Tony Quinn of Scarborough Safer Neighbourhood Team, said Scarborough Police were “fully committed” to reducing shoplifting in Scarborough.
However, shopkeepers in the town have given a first hand account of their run in with the crooks, with one store manager branding the thieves “total scum”.
Jan Marsh is the manager of Bon Marche in Westborough. She said: “We have been struck a few times.
“I mean, it’s a small minority of people doing it, but those who do are total scum, and you would be stunned at what they take.”
In one incident at the shop, a shoplifter took a pair of scissors to a dress, stealing only part of the garment and leaving the rest.
One shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, added that they had been forced to intercept a shoplifter who had tried to steal a jacket worth hundreds of pounds.
They added that a lot of the shoplifters they encountered came from out of town on shoplifting ‘day trips’.
Keely Duncan, area manager for The Fragrance Shop in The Brunswick Centre, said the store is forced to use protective casing to stop shoplifters.
However, she attributed their success on staving off shoplifters to Brunswick security guards, with Miss Marsh praising the police radio network for keeping the theft numbers down.
She said that fed-up customers have also started reporting thieves that they’ve witnessed stealing.
Inspector Quinn said that the number of shop thefts had dropped by ten per cent in Scarborough this year, adding that a number of measures are in place to combat shoplifting in the town, including the daily deployment of officers in the town centre.