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Police apprehend 83 individuals in crackdown on prolific retail theft offenders.

Cambridge Police have detained 83 individuals in a concerted effort to combat retail crime, bicycle theft, and begging.

Established in September, the Spree Offending Team, stationed at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge, has been dedicated to targeting the region's most prolific lawbreakers.

Over the past six months, the team, comprising a Sergeant and five Police Constables, has effected 83 arrests and secured charges for 369 offences.

Tasked with identifying and apprehending persistent and prolific offenders, the team focuses on a range of crimes including shoplifting, begging, bicycle theft, burglary, theft from motor vehicles, and possession of tools for theft.

Working collaboratively with partner agencies and other police departments, they aim to prevent further criminal activity by these individuals.

Sergeant Dan Scott, leading the team, emphasised, "There's a misconception that 'lower-level' crimes like theft, retail crime, and criminal damage are of lesser importance and receive lower priority. However, we acknowledge the significant impact these spree offences have on victims, businesses, and employees, including financial losses, abuse, threats, and intimidation. We're committed to tirelessly apprehending and bringing to justice anyone committing offences in Cambridgeshire."

Detective Chief Inspector Denise Harper, overseeing the team, commented, "The team is swiftly and robustly addressing these offenders to avert future crimes and safeguard potential victims. Businesses across Cambridge are already witnessing the tangible impact of this team on their employees and livelihoods, with many acknowledging the increased police presence in the city. We've even received commendations from individuals we've arrested themselves regarding the proactive efforts of the team, particularly through foot and bicycle patrols."

The force is currently supporting the National Business Crime Centre’s (NBCC) Safer Business Action Week (18-24 March), collaborating with retailers and private security in designated areas for targeted activities. This includes joint high-visibility patrols, proactive measures against known offenders, and crime prevention campaigns.

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