'Blight of shoplifting' in Northampton street by 'organised gangs' must be beaten back, says councillor

The drop-in session is at Kingsley Park Methodist Church on October 16 at 5.30pm.
The drop-in session is at Kingsley Park Methodist Church on October 16 at 5.30pm.

Shopkeepers along a Northampton neighbourhood are being asked to club together to fight shoplifting.

Councillor for Kingsley Cathrine Russell says her area is beset by "organised gangs" stealing wholesale from shops and contributing to "broken-window syndrome" in Kingsley.

She has called a drop-in community meeting at Kingsley Park Methodist Church, in Milton Street, on October 16 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm and has urged retailers and residents to come together and tackle the ward's problems.

Councillor Russell said: "I have been told of gangs walking into these shops, helping themselves wholesale and walking out again. When the shops call the police, they are often too busy to help. If they do arrive, the perpetrators are long gone.

"There are now 10 shops closed on Kingsley Park Terrace. The pavements are uneven and pedestrians have to dodge bikes riding on the pavement. It is in a horrible state."

The drop-in session will have representatives from the borough council, Northamptonshire Police, housing officers, environment officers and county councillors Danielle Stone and Rachel Cooley.

Councillor Russell has also invited the Northampton Retail Crime Initiative, a non-profit organisation for shopkeepers to help report crime to one another and keep tabs on shoplifters in their area.

Councillor Russell said: "I'm trying to organise some kind of collective movement so we can rid our retailers of this blight of shoplifting.

"We have to be realistic about what we can achieve in Kingsley Park. I want people to know their thoughts are being heard by decision makers. It has some wonderful people and I want to see it return to its former glory."

The drop-in session comes after two community meetings were held for residents to voice opinions on their problems in Kingsley.