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Walkie-talkie plan to help protect shops from crime
A SCHEME for traders to warn each other about nuisance customers will be rolled out in Bewdley to stamp out drug-related crime in the town.
Shop owners and publicans will be issued with walkie-talkies so they can alert other shop -keepers about anyone acting suspiciously.
It is hoped the pub and shop watch scheme will help deter drug addicts and alcoholics, who have been blighting the town in recent months.
Town councillors met police and representatives of Worcestershire Regulatory Services in a bid to come up with a zero- tolerance approach to handling the problem.
It follows a number of recent incidents in the town, including an alleged burglary and claims drug addicts and alcoholics were menacing people in the town by begging to fund their habits.
Town councillor Derek Killingworth said members would roll out the scheme before the Easter tourist season.
He added: “Something’s got to be done because Easter isn’t that far away. We cannot afford to allow these people to lay siege to the town. We’ve got to press the people with businesses in the town to work with us.”
He added the town council would issue the shops and pubs with walkie-talkies temporarily until it raised enough money to put a phone system in place.
“It’s got to be zero tolerance–that’s the only way we can stop this,” he said, adding the feedback from shopkeepers was “positive” but there was “still a lot more work to do”.
Inspector Paul Crowley, of West Mercia Police, said: “We discussed a number of ideas, including reforming the Pub Watch scheme, a Shop Watch initiative, improving public transport and taxi provision, introducing an age-verification scheme and bringing in street pastors.
“These ideas are all at a very early stage but West Mercia Police and our Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore are fully in support of the town council and the licensees and we look forward to working together to further develop these ideas.
“While I would like to reiterate that Bewdley does not have a major problem with alcohol or drug abuse, disorder or anti- social behaviour, we welcome these steps towards dealing with any issues which have an impact on the quality of life of its residents.”
Mr Killingworth previously told The Shuttle that “druggies” and alcoholics had been menacing the riverside town since December.
He added the problem had become progressively worse and wanted to see more police on the streets to prevent crime.
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