Police advise local charity shop workers on stopping crime

Pictured at the PSNI crime prevention information talk are, from left: Noel McCarter, manager of Oxfam Omagh, Joe Keys, Omagh Crime Prevention Officer, Oxfam volunteers Veronica McAfee and Gerard Keaveney and Constable Latimer, Omagh Neighbourhood Policing Team

WORKERS and management from charity shops in Omagh attended a PSNI crime prevention information talk that highlighted counterfeit fraud, scams and thefts being used by criminals.
The event took place in the Oxfam Shop on Market Street last Thursday afternoon and was overseen by Omagh Crime Prevention Officer Joe Keys and Johnny Hamill, who is Neighbourhood Sergeant at Omagh Police Station.
Police brought along a selection of counterfeit and genuine bank notes demonstrating the fake currency that has been in circulation.
They also gave tips on how to dispose of cash, protect stock and personal property such as handbags while working.
Johnny Hamill from Omagh PSNI explained, “Some counterfeit notes are very easy to detect but others are ‘good.’
We are highlighting the fact that some of these can be difficult to detect and to help people try to weed out the duff ones from the real.
“The problem of counterfeit notes tend to rear its head frequently.
“If you are working in a charity shop your margins are quite tight.
“Taking in a counterfeit 20 pound note or 50 euro note could make a big difference.”
The local police officers also highlighted various scams, including telephone scams, theft and how to work with the PSNI more efficiently to increase the prospects of catching shop-lifters.
Const Hamill warned, “There is always somebody up to something and it’s a matter of working with members of the retail profession to make sure that they protect their stock and prevent theft.
“Also, if they are unfortunate to be the victim of theft that they can provide us with as much information as possible to enable us to catch the shoplifters and hopefully get their produce back.
“We encourage shop workers to be our ‘EARS’ – that is ‘Early Accurate Reporting’ – which increases the chance of detection.
“We need to say alert as all the time we have to keep ahead of the criminal especially those that are organised and know what they are looking for.”
Welcoming the PSNI initiative, the manager of the Oxfam shop, Noel McCarter explained that most charity outlets cannot afford CCTV and electronic tags used by major stores.
He said, “There are 13 charity shops in Omagh and they are becoming more mainstream and busier than ever.
“Today’s talk was very beneficial and provided a lot of important information.”     



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