The security team at West Orchards Shopping Centre in Coventry are the new stars of a television series due to be aired on Channel 5.
Shoplifters: At War With The Law is a six-part documentary series from Crackit Productions which follows the security guards and how they tackle shoplifting.
Shoplifters are apparently now taking a more aggressive approach, concealing weapons and finding new places to hide stolen goods.
The series watches the team follow CCTV and catch out the criminals.
The first episode is due to air on Channel 5 on Monday, July 13 at 9pm and with West Orchards facing around 70 shoplifters each month, it’s sure to be jam-packed with incident.
Andy Talbot, Centre Director West Orchards, said: “Our team really enjoyed making the series with Channel 5, it shows how hard they work to protect the shoppers in Coventry and reduce shop theft that costs our retailers so much.
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“We are excited to see the whole series of six episodes.”
Security guards are caught in a daily cat and mouse battle to catch the sophisticated shoplifters costing Britain £2.2 billion every year.
Shoplifters strike 200 times per hour and it’s no longer lone opportunists but gangs who “come equipped’ and use every excuse and trick to evade capture.
Foil-lined bags and de-tagging devices prevent security alarms triggering and specially adapted clothing improves concealment.
Now retailers are fighting back – in addition to CCTV covering every inch of shopping centres across the country, a crack unit of security guards in stab vests in Coventry are on constant alert.
Elaine Hackett, CEO at Crackit, said: “Shoplifting is getting serious, organised and more aggressive. This series looks at the men and women who bring these criminals to justice.
“From repeat offenders to dangerous gangs, these security guards take their lives in their hands to help retailers tackle the disruption caused to local businesses.”
Daniel Louw, Commissioning Editor, Channel 5, said “Britain’s retailers are under pressure like never before, but as shoplifters become more resourceful, so do the guards. This is an eye-opening view into the murky and combative underworld of shoplifting.”
Sneak peek of first episode
In Monday’s programme, security guard Paul takes a call about a group of women who have been seen on CCTV taking items from a High Street store.
When they are approached the guards spot suspicious bulges under their full-length skirts.
The team discover a huge haul of stolen goods in their unusual hiding place and call in the police.
When stopping a couple outside a department store, what appears to be an empty bag makes the team worry they’ve made a false stop – something, which could cost them their jobs.
But in the holding room, they discover a hidden compartment in the bag and it’s another theft classed as ‘going equipped’.
Concealing a bottle of perfume in a newspaper, one shoplifter thinks he can fool the security team but with Mal watching in the control room and Paul waiting to pounce, there’s no chance he’s getting away.