Businesses targeted by pre-Christmas crooks

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Police are warning business owners to keep their property and money safe as crooks prepare to grab a piece of the Christmas shopping spree.

Operation Vault is providing crime prevention advice to banks, jewellers and post offices in a regional campaign to reduce the risk of robberies and thefts.

Supt Simon Giles of Lancashire Police said: “We want to ensure that it is the business that benefits from this financial boost rather than a burglar or robber.”

Police advice is:

Ensure intruder and panic alarms are fully operational to get a quick police response.

Be extra vigilant during cash or stock deliveries/collections and make all staff aware of the added risks.

Be mindful of any suspicious activity on your premises during opening hours. Individuals who are inside but do not appear to be using any of your services or buying anything may be observing the layout of the premises or checking out stock/cash delivery times.

If you have a CCTV system, ensure that it is operational and recording images in appropriate areas.

Ensure that money is stored appropriately in a safe or other secure area.

When visiting the bank with cash, vary your habits, for example, day, time and route; and consider how much you carry and where possible attend the bank in twos.

Do not cash up until the premises are empty and known to be secure.

At close of business ensure premises have been completely emptied and that no external doors or windows have been accidentally or intentionally left open.

Report any suspicious activity to the police. In an emergency, always dial 999.