Police have enlisted the help of Irvine pupils in a bid beat shoplifters.

Primary pupils from across Irvine, Dreghorn and Springside have participated in a poster competition to raise awareness on the impact of retail crime on individuals, businesses and the wider community.

During September 2018 PC John Emley, of the Irvine Locality Policing Team, visited local primary schools with representatives from Retailers Against Crime, to educate young people in primary 6 and 7 on the impact of retail crimes including shoplifting.

Retailers Against Crime are a not-for-profit organisation owned by their (retailer) members. Their main objective is to prevent prolific, organised and travelling offenders from entering and impacting on their members premises. Operating throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland and North-West England they produce regular intelligence bulletins for their members and Police.

During the visits the young people were invited to enter a competition to design an anti-shoplifting poster with prizes for first, second and third places donated by the Rivergate Shopping Centre.
On Friday, November 2 representatives of Police Scotland, including Area Commander Chief Inspector Brian Shaw, and the Rivergate Shopping Centre presented the winners with their prizes.

PC Emley said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to go into the schools with our partners at Retailers Against Crime and speak directly to the young people about retail crime. Retail crime has a detrimental impact on the lives, hopes and dreams of individuals, businesses and the wider community.

“The young people learned about how shoplifting can impact on everything from their future job ambitions, their education opportunities, and their ability to visit certain foreign countries.

“We are committed to reducing crime in North Ayrshire and to working with our partners to prevent crime and bring offenders to justice. This commitment is shared by our partners at Retailers Against Crime and the Rivergate Shopping Centre as demonstrated by their support for this initiative.

“We hope to spark a wider discussion about the impact crime including shoplifting has not only on businesses, but also on offenders and communities.

“The core message was that shoplifting is far from victimless. It costs jobs, pushes up prices, can force businesses to close and there are wide ranging negative consequences for the offender. We rely on the cooperation of businesses and the public to prevent, detect and reduce crime.

“We were delighted with the support we received from local schools and would like to thank everyone involved.”
Several hundred competition entries were submitted, with Police having no shortage of excellent designs to choose the three winners from.
The first prize, of a Playstation 4, was awarded to Melissa Anderson (age 11) from Annick Primary, second prize of a £100 gift voucher was awarded to Mia Leitch (age 11) from Lawthorn Primary and third prize of a tablet computer was awarded to Tegan Morgan (age 10) from Annick Primary.

The winning entries will be displayed throughout Irvine and will coincide with the annual Police festive campaign, which includes additional hi-visibility patrols in town centre areas across North Ayrshire.