independent news and information website for the towns and villages which lie alongside the River Dee in north Wales, from Connah's Quay to the border with Chester.

Pioneering crime-fighting radio network funded by cash seized from criminals is extending to Deeside

A pioneering scheme aimed at clamping down on shoplifters and funded by cash confiscated from criminals is extending to Deeside.

Flintshire Against Business Crime (FABC) was set up just over a year ago to help its members keep track of sneak thieves by swapping vital information using a digital radio network.

And it received a big cash boost in from a special crime-busting fund backed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.

The Your Community, Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).

Much of the money was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget.

[miptheme_quote author=”Steph Roberts, manager of Iceland Food in Mold” style=”text-left”]I think it’s brilliant and shows what can be achieved by co-operation between the businesses.

All we have to do is shout out to one another when we spot shoplifters on our premises and then we can keep track of where they are going.[/miptheme_quote]

FABC originally went on air to serve the two Flintshire towns of Mold and Flint and to build on its early success it is currently being extended to other busy shopping centres at Connah’s Quay and Shotton on Deeside along with Buckley and Saltney.

The £2,500 received from Your Community Your Choice has been spent on buying extra radio handsets and other electronic infrastructure for the new areas.

Business crime support officer Charlie Mobbs, who works with FABC, said:

“The aim of the project is to prevent and deter shoplifting and anti-social behaviour by allowing members to gain and share knowledge about who is in an area at any particular time.

“The digital radio system initially operated with 40 sets in Flint and Mold and quickly proved its worth with one retailer describing it as `priceless’ and another telling us that it in its first few weeks it was used to deter three known shoplifters.

“The £2,500 received from Your Community You Choice was a brilliant boost for the project and has now allowed us to have a further 60 or so radio handsets in other towns across the county where the extended project should be up and running by next spring.

Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said:

“The scheme has now been spread to other parts of Flintshire and the money from last year’s round of Your Community Your Choice has been well spent on additional radios for businesses to communicate with each other, and with the police and CCTV, if and when a crime occurs so they can pass the information on.

“This project is something which could be spread to other areas of North Wales. The PACT bids are open for anyone to apply for money and projects like this I am sure would be considered favourably.”

Pictured are Charlie Mobbs, FABC, Arfon Jones Police and Crime Commissioner North Wales and Steph Roberts, Iceland Store Manager.