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Cambridge police crackdown on begging and shop and cycle thefts

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Police in Cambridge arrested 83 people as part of a crackdown on retail crime, bike theft and begging.

The Spree Offending Team, based at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge, was set up in September to tackle the area’s most prolific criminals.

Over the past six months they have made 83 arrests and secured charges for 369 crimes.

The team, made up of a sergeant and five police constables, identify and track down persistent and prolific offenders responsible for crimes including shoplifting, begging, bike theft, burglary, theft from motor vehicles and going equipped for theft.

They then work alongside partner agencies and other departments within the police to prevent the individuals from further offending.

Sergeant Dan Scott, who leads the team, said: “There can be a misconception that ‘lower level’ criminality such as theft, retail crime and criminal damage are less important and given less priority than other crimes.

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“However, we recognise the impact these spree offences have on victims, businesses and employees including financial loss, abuse, threats and intimidation. We will continue to work tirelessly to arrest and put before the courts anyone committing offences in Cambridgeshire.”

Detective Chief Inspector Denise Harper, who oversees the team, added: “The team are working quickly and robustly with these offenders to prevent future crimes and victims.

“Shops and businesses across Cambridge are already seeing the impact first hand, that this team are having on their employees and livelihoods, with many noticing the increased police presence in the city.

“We’ve even had comments from those we’ve arrested themselves regarding the proactiveness of the team, especially on foot and bikes.”

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