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    Kent retailer visiting homes of teen shoplifters to combat crime

    Photo: iStock

    A convenience store owner in Kent is taking a unique approach to combat shoplifting amid rising cases of blatant looting, particularly by teenagers and young people in his area.

    According to local reports, Umesh Patel, the owner of M&P News in Shepway, was attacked and was left with a bloodied and broken nose after following a young man who had stolen vapes from his shop.

    From visiting shoplifters at home, to displaying their pictures on the street, Patel has been employing some brave new tactics in the battle against thieves.

    “They don’t listen. They come in all together and one person buys something and the others are taking chocolate.

    “Now I’ve changed the system. If you pinch anything in my shop I have the CCTV and I show the pictures to people and say ‘can you tell me where this boy lives?’

    “I go to the houses and show the video to the parents and say: ‘Look this happened, please can you tell your son not to come to my shop anymore, and can you pay me please?’”

    “If a boy takes something – drinks or anything – if you argue with him it makes it worse. That’s why I do it a different way, I go to his house,” Kent Online quoted Patel as saying.

    While the retailer said he believes police could do more to tackle the issue, he added that parents too have a responsibility to find out what their children are up to.

    Patel has also restricted the number of teens and young people that can enter his store at a time.

    In Kent last year there were 13,255 counts of shoplifting, the highest since records began in June 2013-2014.

    Back in August, a Kent shop owner had stated that brazen shoplifters were costing him £1,500 every month. Retailer Saba Mahesh claimed his four shops in Sheerness were being targeted on a daily basis by teenagers as they routinely go for sweets and vaping devices, making off with as much as £50-worth of goods each day.

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