St George police operation targets shoplifters

St George police have arrested 21 people as part of an operation targeting shoplifters in the lead up to Christmas.

Operation Christmas Rush was held at shopping precincts across Hurstville and Rockdale between November 29-30.

Officers arrested three people for shoplifting offences during the operation.

Another 10 people had criminal infringement notices issued while a further eight people will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.

A Chester Hill man, 27, was issued with a court attendance notice after leaving a Hurstville supermarket with $250 worth of groceries.

He is due to appear in Sutherland Local Court on January 16.

A Centennial Park man, 49, was also issued a criminal infringement notice after fleeing from security officers, allegedly with stolen goods.

St George Police Sergeant Gary Chetcuti said police will continue to target shoplifters over the festive period.

“This is the busiest time of year for retailers. Retail theft costs businesses millions of dollars every year which ultimately costs the consumer,’’ he said.

"People see an opportunity to steal from retail stores thinking they will blend into the Christmas shopping crowd. This operation, and others like it, is a reminder that uniform and plain clothes police will be patrolling local shopping centres over the holiday period.

"Increased CCTV at many shopping centres and stores increases the likelihood of thieves getting caught.’’

He said police intend on having similar operations leading up to Christmas. 

Police have some tips for shoppers to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft.

That includes:

* Be mindful of your handbags, wallets and purses

* Always keep your bag zipped up

* Keep cash and valuables in your bag to a minimum

* Do not leave prams and trolleys unattended

* Be alert – especially at ATMs

* Avoid carrying large sums of cash

* Don’t put your bag on top of your car while unloading shopping.