Businesses urged to be cautious amid shoplifting concerns
GARDAI are advising business owners to ensure their security is working as shoplifting peaks in the run-up to Christmas. They are also advising shoppers to be mindful of the presence of fraudsters prior to the festive season.
Shoplifting levels are on a par with last year, but are expected to peak in the coming weeks during the busiest time of year for traders.
Gardai will increase presence on the streets and will increase checkpoints in the coming weeks, in an effort to target shoplifting.
Gardai will talk to retailers in the coming weeks advising them of the importance of taking precautions, in an effort to reduce shoplifting.
Crime Prevention Officer in the Westmeath Garda Division Sergeant John Connolly said the most common items taken from business premises include phones, electrical goods, cosmetics, alcohol and clothing.
'Crime tends to increase around Christmas time, particularly shoplifting and thefts from cars in car parks. We are constantly visiting retailers, advising them on what to watch out for,' he said.
'Professional short change scammers,' he said, are in circulation. This is where two or more assailants go into a shop and approach young members of staff for change. They confuse the staff and end up taking away more than they tendered.
'It is a very quick scam. Westmeath has been targeted,' said Sgt Connolly. 'These are very confident scammers. Despite regular advice on this there are still retailers out there who change money for strangers or who do not check large notes with a UV reader.'
Gardai will set up stands in both shopping centres in Athlone and on Church Street, offering advice and assistance to retailers, on Saturday, December 3.