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Crawley businesses warned over burglaries during Covid-19 pandemic

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Local businesses are being urged to ensure their premises are sufficiently protected during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sussex Police believe there could be an increase in organised acquisitive crime across the county – including burglaries of business premises – and have increased police patrols and proactive targeting of known local criminals.

Two men, charged with stealing £80,000 worth of stock from Currys PC World in Hove, were arrested after a fast-moving intelligence-led operation saw them arrested after a black Audi A4 was stopped by officers on the M23 on March 17. They’ve been remanded in custody to re-appear in court on April. 

Officers are also advising residents to make sure that their valuables are secure, especially as warmer weather may well result in opportunistic crooks taking advantage of properties left insecure.

Last month, a Hailsham man pleaded guilty to burglary in the town and will appear for sentencing on April 14. 

Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, burglary prevention lead for Sussex Police, said:

“We take burglary very seriously. Staff across the force are working hard to prevent an increase in burglary and we are ready to respond to any spikes in such criminality.

“We are urging business owners to ensure that they have sufficient and robust security features in place and that they are in full working order. Security cameras should be checked and owners need to make sure that any service doors are both secure and locked. Don’t store cash in premises whilst they are closed.

“Owners of high value jewellery are encouraged to ensure it is securely locked away in the house, ideally in a safe or similar secure storage, rather than being left in drawers or cupboards. Residents should ensure that doors to their homes are kept locked, especially overnight, but also when they might be out enjoying their gardens, and that they have measures in place to keep their residence secure.

“It is vital that we all work together to disrupt organised crime and prevent opportunistic burglaries. Our Sussex Police website provides some excellent detailed advice on how to protect your property from crime.

“Please do not hesitate to report suspicious activity to us. This includes reporting people trying to sell items that you suspect are stolen. If you have any information concerning burglary or people selling stolen goods please get in touch with us immediately online or by calling 101. You can also report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“In an emergency, such as a crime in progress, please dial 999.”

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said:

“It is important to remember at this time that, whilst our police officers are having to provide support to protect the capacity of the NHS, they are still committed to protecting our communities because criminals are not staying at home.

“As many businesses have been forced to close due to the ‘lockdown’, the vacant premises are more vulnerable to being targeted by criminals seeking to make a profit from this pandemic. So, I’m urging business owners to heed the preventative advice that Sussex Police have released today and take simple measures to better protect themselves and their livelihood.

“The police are still there for us when we need them most, so if you see something suspicious or have been a victim of any crime type, please still report.”

You can find crime prevention advice for protecting your business from the inside out and keeping high value items safe at home on the Sussex Police website.

Sussex Police’s Community Message service, In the Know, will keep you posted on latest news in your police district.

Communities can work together to prevent crime. By joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme or becoming a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, your community can be stronger together.

Business

What to expect when Primark reopens in Crawley in two weeks

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Primark is working re-open their stores on the 15th june and the store has been working hard to ensure their employee and customer safety is their highest priority.

So what can customers expect to find implemented when they reopen?

Social distancing:

There will be a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees, following government guidelines.

There will be clear signage and floor decals, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff, to guide customers through the store in a way that limits contact with others.

Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and between employees.

The store will temporarily close off fitting rooms and customer toilets.

Personal protection for employees and customers:

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use. Face masks and gloves will be made available to all Primark employees.

Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect customers and employees.

Increased in-store cleaning:

The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will increase, particularly around high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house.

A basket cleaning system is also being introduced.

Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said:

“As we re-open our stores in England, nothing matters more than the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers.

“We have really missed our customers and we are delighted to be back on 15 June and able to provide them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.

“We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work. While it might take a little longer to get into our stores, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Primark products and we have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.

“We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.

“I would like to thank all of our colleagues and partners for the commitment, strength and resilience they have shown through these challenging times.”

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