SHOPLIFTERS have pocketed themselves a very unwelcome Christmas present after hawk-eyed police targeted Ballarat’s busiest shops this week.
Police say they are disappointed an all-out police blitz on shoplifters caught so many offenders, with 55 different offences detected as part of the two-day operation on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A portion of the offences were related to shoplifting, but there was also scope for a range of other offences to be detected.
Focusing mainly on Central Square, Bridge Mall and Stockland Wendouree, the Target Patrol Group hit Ballarat’s busiest shopping precincts.
Comprising both uniformed and plain-clothed officers, the police group made a number of arrests and laid six charges.
Acting Senior Sergeant Peter Carey said it was disappointing so many people were willing to flout the law and steal from local businesses, but he was not surprised by the results.
“You conduct the operation because you know it’s a high-risk time for the shops and the statistics point to this time of year as the worst time,” he said.
“It’s not surprising, but it is still disappointing.”
One offender was charged and remanded in custody, while five others were charged and bailed.
There were also three official warnings handed out, four cautions, five penalty notices and six summons for expected charges.
Acting Senior Sergeant Carey said the results indicated there was very much a real problem, with shoplifting, which police would continue to target.
He also sent out a stern warning that police would capture anybody trying to take advantage of a five-finger discount.
“We are going to continue running these operations and if you want to try your luck then the chances are high that you will get caught,” he said.