VISITORS to a shopping park have been urged to be on their guard after crime levels went up at a shopping complex.
North Wales PCSO Tom Hough said officers had noted a major rise in shoplifting at Broughton Shopping Park in recent months.
One store on the site, Tesco, has reported more incidents of shoplifting on its premises than any other retailer in Flintshire.
Speaking at a meeting of Broughton and Bretton Community Council, PCSO Hough admitted officers “didn’t know why” things had deteriorated.
He told councillors two assaults had also taken place on the retail park during that time.
North Wales Police district inspector Sharon McCairn said shoplifting had risen across the whole of south Flintshire in recent months.
“Broughton Shopping Park in itself has not seen significant increases,” she said, “but by its very nature and popularity, it is one of the key locations for shoplifting.”
For Broughton North East which encompasses the retail park, reports of shoplifting and attempted shoplifting are more than 17 per cent higher than for the same period last year.
In the six months from January last year, there were 29 offences. In the same period this year that number had risen to 34.
“This is an area of focus for the local policing team,” Insp McCairn added. “Officers are working closely with the recently-formed crime reduction partnership Broughton Against Business Crime and retailers to prevent offences taking place in the first instance and to target the most prolific offenders.
“This includes use of radios between shops to provide an early warning system to other businesses and increased patrols.”
Broughton Retail Park manager Colin Gilligan said the increase in reports of crime could be as a result of better communication.
“We’ve been encouraging stores to report any crime to the police and we have strong links with Chester city centre,” he said. “That could well explain the increase.
“We are by no means the worst. It’s not a real cause for concern.”
A Tesco spokesman said: "Like many retailers, we are unfortunately sometimes the victim of shoplifting.
“Our colleagues work very hard to prevent theft and we work very closely with the local police."
Insp McCairn said: “We all have a joint responsibility and interest to ensure crime is reduced in our communities so it’s worth reminding everyone to be vigilant at all times.
“Always ensure your property is locked and secured and if you see any suspicious behaviour contact us immediately.
“This extends to offences of shoplifting too, so if you see suspicious behaviour in shop premises report it to staff.”