Police to visit second-hand dealers

Police are asking second-hand businesses in Nottinghamshire to join them in the fight against crime.

This week the Force will launch Operation Fagin, a policing and crime prevention strategy to reduce the market for stolen goods.

As part of the operation, Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be visiting all second-hand dealers, cash converter shops and pawnbrokers across the city and county and asking them to work in partnership with them to protect the integrity of their industry.

Superintendent Mark Pollock, Force lead for market reduction, said: ”Nottinghamshire is revered as one of the country’s top areas for shopping, with the second-hand market a legitimate part of that industry.

“But while the majority of traders are honest, upstanding members of the business community, an unscrupulous few are determined to compromise the integrity of the industry with their ‘no questions asked’ approach.

“By joining forces with us on this, businesses can help curb crime and effectively enhance their reputation and profits.”

During the police visits, businesses will be asked to sign a charter to demonstrate their commitment to ridding the market of stolen goods. By signing the charter they agree to ask for identification and proof of ownership from their customers and report any suspicious customers or goods to the police.

Where appropriate, they are also being asked to check the background history of electrical property through the CheckMEND database, the world’s largest online source of used electronics information.

Once signed the charter is to be displayed in shop windows, demonstrating to their customers that they are a reputable company.

Superintendent Pollock said: “In an era of identity theft and cyber fraud the image of a Dickensian figure whipping open his trench coat filled with stolen goods may be a bit of a caricature, but the concept is still very relevant.

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“We can lock up thieves until we are blue in the face, and we do, but without closing down the avenues through which they sell on their illicit property, the incentive is still there for them to steal.”

Staff will also be encouraged to introduce their customers to Immobilise, a free online register of belongings. This, in turn, populates the CheckMEND database should this property subsequently become lost or stolen.

Businesses can sign-up to Business Watch at www.nottsbusinesswatch.co.uk to receive regular crime and ‘scam’ alerts free-of-charge.