Sales assistants at three shops in the Harborough district have been issued with body-worn cameras, in a new bid to tackle shoplifting.
The bodycams have been issued by a community safety group including the police, Harborough District Council and retail partners.
“The shops are trialling the body-worn cameras for three months,” said Sgt Kev Manship, at Market Harborough police station.
“It’s a case of trial them, see how you get on, and tell us if they help.
“The cameras should act as a deterrent to crime - and in cases where they can’t stop crime, they can provide evidence.”
The three stores trialling the cameras are Sainsbury’s in Market Harborough, Mountain Warehouse in Market Harborough and Palmers Garden Centre at Ullesthorpe, near Lutterworth.
At Palmers, operations manager Michael Pipes said: “We think these cameras will act as a deterrent if we have any issues.
“We were lent one by the local police, and we’ve also purchased one ourselves. They’re already working well for us.
“Staff clip them on to their T-shirts, and potential offenders can see they’re being physically recorded, which tends to deter them.”
At the Mountain Warehouse store on High Street, Market Harborough, shop manager Geoff Hall said: “Shop theft is rife in Harborough – and for us winter is the worst time, with criminals looking for warm clothes.
“We only started using our bodycam on Monday, but we have staff here who are keen to use it, and I’m sure it will be a deterrent.”
At Sainsbury’s in Market Harborough, a spokesperson said: “Our bodycam was delivered this week.
“It’s basically a police initiative which we’re supporting. If a case goes to court, the bodycam will provide more evidence.”
Across Leicestershire, there were almost 6,000 reported cases of shoplifting , in the year to August, 2018.
But in small towns like Market Harborough and Lutterworth, a few persistent criminals – some already banned from shops – can cause the local figures to spike.
Cameras will also help identify these repeat offenders.