New scheme unveiled to combat crime in County Durham

Business owners in Bishop Auckland are to receive advice in the fight against criminal activity.

The Bishop Auckland Business Security Grant Scheme has been unveiled in the town recently and is expected to provide the owners of small businesses with funding to secure their properties with the help of roller shutters, security lighting, alarms and locks.

Martin Pearce, a local police inspector, encouraged shop owners in particular to make the most of the scheme. He said:

“I would urge people to take advantage of this scheme. In these economic times a lot of these businesses are struggling and what we don’t want to see is a ghost town. They [business owners] might not have much money coming through the front door but they will have even less if they are targeted by burglars. We want to see crowds of the right people and put a stop to criminals coming into the town.”

The funds will be provided to business owners by the Durham, Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership (AAP). The group’s co-ordinator, Andrew Walker, said:

“We have committed £15,000 to it and together with funding from other partners, businesses will be able to improve security.”

Police have dealt with at least 15 separate incidents of burglary in the area within the space of six weeks over May and June. The premises of businesses such as B&Q, Thorntons and Ladbrokes were among the shops broken into or vandalised.

It is hoped that as well as raising money, the scheme will also raise awareness of the extra security measures which can be taken by business owners.

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