PENARTH Police are hoping to crack down on shoplifting in the town centre by increasing the number of PCSO’s patrolling the area to improve their visibility.

Sergeant Ioan Jones, who gave a presentation to Penarth Town Council about the last two months of police activity in Penarth on Thursday night (June 19), said that ‘Operation Grey Market’ had involved increasing the number of PCSO’s in the town centre and Dinas Powys and giving advice to local businesses to prevent them from becoming the victims of crime.

“The main items that are stolen are meat from the front of the shops,” he said.

“We have seen CCTV footage of people filling bags with meat and walking out.”

He added that one man who had been responsible for four offences of shoplifting in Penarth, as well as other offences in Whitchurch and the Cardiff area, and had recently been handed a ten month sentence. He had also admitted to other offences of shoplifting after being arrested by police.

He added that overall it had been a “good” two months, with the number of burglary dwellings in April and My remaining on six incidents, criminal damage remaining on nine and the number of ‘violence against the person’ falling from 19 in April to 15 in May.

He added that there had been a “spike” of incidents of shoplifting, classified as ‘other theft’, at the start of April, and that there were a total of 23 offences committed in April and 28 committed in May.

Police figures showed that the total number of crimes committed had increased from 64 in April to 66 in May.

When asked about future contingency plans Sgt Jones said that police would also be increasing their presence ahead of the upcoming GCSE and A Level results days, as well as Carnival Day on July 12.

Cllr Neil Thomas said that he had seen police “doing nothing” about people parked dangerously on zig-zag lines and obstructing traffic, and questioned why this was the case. Sgt Jones said that he would be “disappointed” if that was the case as either the police or Vale of Glamorgan Council traffic enforcers would have confronted them if they were proving to be a dangerous obstruction.

“If they are parked on zig-zag lines they need to book the offender if they are causing a dangerous obstruction,” said Sgt Jones.

He added that if any councillors saw PCSO’s walking past people parked dangerously they should contact him.

Cllr Thomas also said that at a recent PACT meeting the issue of “an increase in the amount of youths using Victoria Playing Fields for drinking and smoking drugs” had been raised.

He added that he had walked past someone with “a strong smell of cannabis”.

Sergeant Jones said police were aware of the concerns and were tackling the issue.