A police operation involving plain clothes officers and targeting shoplifters in Falmouth is to be rolled out over the next couple of weeks and will run into the autumn.

Sergeant Martin Roberts said: “We are seeing an increase in shoplifting reports and want to nip the problem in the bud and get the message out there that it will not be tolerated in Falmouth and that we are taking steps to address it.

“We are making a concerted effort to target the problem and will be sending in plain clothes officers from outside the station so they will not be recognised and we will run the operation for a couple of months.

“We want law abiding citizens to be aware that there will be police out there, although you will not see them, and the message to the criminal is that if you want to go shoplifting be prepared and if you don’t want to get caught then don’t come to Falmouth.”

The plain clothes officers will be working alongside the town’s regular police officers and PCSOs who will be patrolling as normal, and also linking into the town’s Shopwatch radio scheme used by businesses to warn each other when shoplifters are seen to be operating in town.

The sudden rise in reports of shop theft is thought to be down in part to the holiday season and the dramatic increase of visitors to the town. “The summer period often brings an increase of these types of crime,” said Sgt Roberts.

“Some shoplifting is done when it’s very quiet, near closing time, but others will want more cover and prefer the busy times when shops are crowded.”

Although there are some well known shoplifters who operate in Falmouth, Sgt Roberts is keen to stress the operation will not be targeting anyone in particular.

“It is about addressing the volume of crime rather than any individuals,” he said.