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Sydney police launch operation against shoplifting epidemic

06-03-2011 11:07 BJT

SYDNEY, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Hiding among the bargain racks and the discount sections, they waited. In a secret mission worthy of a retail version of James Bond, police from Sydney's Redfern Regional Enforcement Squad led a special crack unit of top Aussie cops this month, on a shoplifting blitz across major Sydney retail centres.

The unit, working in shifts and liasing with Sydney's retail sector that has simply hit the wall in terms of dealing with a citywide shoplifting crisis, arrested 92 people and charged them with 117 separate offences during an overdue crackdown on shoplifting in the CBD regional centres.

Operation "Lightfingers" was rolled-out and carefully executed in two phases. Assisted by police from many of Sydney's major Local Area Commands and working in conjunction with "loss prevention staff" from a number of department stores, the Redfern team went on a crime-stopping spree over two weekends.

Shoplifting remains one of the most common crimes affecting small businesses in Australia.

According to the latest Small Business Crime Survey, more than one in five Australian businesses reported being the recurrent victims of shoplifting. To counter the sophisticated methods of seasoned shoplifters, the officers of the Redfern Region Enforcement Squad utilized a number of unorthodox stratagems and put out the net on the city's systemic property-theft.


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