POLICE have cracked down on shoplifters in Romsey.

Officers from Romsey’s Neighbourhood Policing Team will be out in force to deter shoplifters in the town centre in the run-up to Christmas.

This comes after security guards have also been employed and are patrolling the town in a bid to keep residents and shopkeepers safe.

Now Hampshire police have launched Operation Scrooge.

As part of the initiative, officers will be liaising with retailers, giving advice to shoppers and carrying out high-visibility patrols.

The operation started on December 1 and will run until Christmas.

The force said although Romsey is generally a safe place to live and work, some people will want to take advantage of shoppers and businesses.

Officers are now urging residents to never leave a bag unattended in a trolley, make sure their handbag is closed, try to keep wallets in an inside pocket , try to pay for items on a debit card rather than carry large amounts of cash.

Shopkeepers are also advised to ensure high value stock is stored in a secure location and to be alert when taking deliveries. The police operation comes after plans to have two security guards patrolling the town centre throughout December were approved last month. The new security officers have been out in force since the start of December and town bosses said the initiative is proving a success.