help us stop shoplifters
SHOPLIFTERS are being targeted in a new clean-up campaign as figures revealed the crime costs Sevenoaks stores £32,000 a year.
Police are now attempting to name and shame those who steal from the town's shops.
They are releasing images of people they suspect are connected with a number of thefts around the town, in order to track them down.
DVDs, beer, cigarettes and clothing were among the items nabbed from stores including Homebase, the Co-operative and Baby Gap.
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Inspector David Coleman of Kent Police urged residents to come forward with information about those caught on CCTV.
He said: "Shoplifting is one of those omnipresent problems, one of those crimes where there's clear evidence as to who has committed it, but if you don't know who that person is, it immediately becomes harder to convict them.
"It's very frustrating for officers who just need to put a name to a face.
"We are therefore asking for the public's help in identifying those pictured in these CCTV images.
"This is a shining example of the police and the community working together to tackle crime.
"The information provided by members of the public in appeals such as these are vital in solving cases, as they are our eyes and ears in the community."
The thefts include:
An i-Pod Touch from Sainsbury's in, Otford Road, Sevenoaks, on April 11 at 9.53pm
Four cans of Fosters and some cigarettes from the Co-op in St John's Hill on April 15 at 2.10pm
£430 of DVDs from Homebase, in the Riverside Retail Park, Sevenoaks, on April 18 between 4.10 and 4.23pm
Cigarettes from the One Stop shop in Seal Road, Sevenoaks on April 20 at 5.15pm
Baby clothing from Baby Gap in Sevenoaks, shortly after 4pm on May 8
Anita Singh, manager of the St John's Hill Co-op, said the store was happy to back the campaign.
But she added: "Shoplifting has not been as bad recently because we have done a lot to crack down on it, like putting more CCTV in."
Tony Clayton, a member of the Town Centre Partnership, said: "Petty crime seems to be on the up, and shoplifting is a part of that.
"I welcome any efforts by the police to reduce this effect on the town's shops."
The British Retail Consortium estimates that the average shoplifting offence costs shops £85.50. With 381 incidents in the district between May 2011 and April 2012, it equates to £32,575.50 of loss.
These figures do not take into account the amount of money shopkeepers spend trying to protect their stock with security measures.
Anyone with information about the identity of those pictured should call the police's non-emergency number 101 or Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.