Police swoop as shoplifting gangs target supermarket

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A series of arrests have been made as part of an undercover police operation to jail shoplifting gangs targeting a Sudbury supermarket.

In recent weeks, police officers have been working with security staff at Tesco in Springlands Way to clamp down on thieves attempting to steal hundreds of pounds of goods from the store.

Police had become aware of a number of gangs from outside the area visiting the town to shoplift.

On Monday, three Romanian men, aged 38, 30 and 27, were arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of shoplifting. They were due to appear in court yesterday.

The police swoop followed the arrest of four more Romanian men at the shop last Tuesday. Two of the men, aged 22 and 24 and from the Northampton area, have since been jailed for 24 weeks for theft.

A 41-year-old man and a 26-year-old man were released without any further action being taken.

Sergeant Kevin Horton, from Sudbury Police, said officers had entered the shop in plain clothes on the look out for potential suspects and had used the store’s CCTV and the help of security staff to make arrests.

“The people involved seem to be travelling around the region carrying out organised shoplifting,” said Mr Horton.

“They tend to be from Northampton and the London area and are travelling in.”

Mr Horton said it was likely that a number of those arrested were linked to other crimes in the area and they had been attempting to get away with hauls of expensive items, such as alcohol.

“What was being taken was valued at several hundred pounds up to £1,000,” he said.

“This is a good result for us and it’s nice to have been able to work with Tesco.”

Mr Horton added that a number of arrests were also made at the store last month in connection with the police operation, but stressed incidents of this nature were unusual in Sudbury.

“Incidents on an organised scale like this are not normal,” he said.

“It is usually smaller-scale, petty shoplifting, so this is out of the ordinary and that helped us spot the trend.”

A spokesman for Tesco said the company’s stores were constantly on the look out for any criminal activity.

“We take the safety of our colleagues and customers very seriously and have a range of security measures in place at our stores,” he said.

“We are grateful for the support of the police in this and it is now a matter for them and the courts.”