Shopkeepers and police join forces to fight crime

Police have teamed up with second-hand shopkeepers. Picture: Julie Bull
Police have teamed up with second-hand shopkeepers. Picture: Julie Bull
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SECOND-hand shops have teamed up with police to tackle criminals attempting to sell on their loot.

The new Tradewatch scheme – which was launched this morning – will see all stores in the Capital sharing information on suspicious customers trying to shift stolen goods.

Managers will alert one another to any attempts to sell items they believed have been stolen and the police who can help to identify the perpetrators and seize the ill-gotten gains.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston said: “Those responsible for acquisitive crime will often attempt to sell on stolen goods for profit and regularly attempt to utilise second-hand retailers to dispose of valuable items.

“However, we have an excellent and long-standing relationship with these businesses in Edinburgh and staff regularly assist our Search and Recovery Team in reuniting stolen property with its rightful owner as well as helping us identify those responsible for the thefts.”

Each store will be provided with a UV lamp, which can detect a colourless liquid known as SmartWater that is coated on to property to prove its ownership.

The chemical substance provides a forensic link to the owner and connects the criminal with the crime scene.

Hundreds of homes have already been issued with SmartWater to mark their property, according to Chief Inspector Richard Horan.

He said: “Tackling housebreaking and robbery is a priority across the city and the Tradewatch initiative is yet another tool in our armoury to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. We continue to target and pursue those who steal through ongoing enforcement activity and partnership campaigns.”

Mr Horan urged the public to assist the police in preventing crime by storing valuables out of sight, securing sheds and outbuildings, and considering additional home security measures such as alarms and motion activated lighting.

David Patrick, chief executive of Cash Converters UK, the UK’s largest second-hand retailer, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the police and a part of the new Tradewatch scheme as we are committed to tackling the issue of stolen goods in our stores.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards stolen goods and a number of processes in place to deter criminals.”

Anyone trying sell an item to Cash Converters must present two forms of ID along with proof of address in line with regulations set out by the Financial Conduct Authority, according to Mr Patrick. Sellers must also agree to be photographed and sign an agreement confirming they are the legal owner of the goods.

He added: “We have a strong working relationship with Edinburgh police and, as part of the Tradewatch scheme, are committed to sharing information with other businesses to help prevent crime and put a stop to stolen goods coming through our doors.”

A previous bid by city nightspots to curb disorder by sharing information and CCTV about troublemakers was hailed a success after the number of assaults dropped by a third in its first three years.

The Unight scheme was launched in 2007, linking all venues with late licences in the city.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com