FIVE people are to be banned from all shops in Newcastle Emlyn for a year in a bid to combat shoplifting.

One man and four women will be excluded under the ‘Steal and be Banned’ scheme set up by town traders back in April 2018.

Their bans have been agreed for 12 months and police will now present the five involved with letters informing them of the decision..

Local PCSO Jeff Kedward said: “The bans are as a result of the businesses of the town acting as one in order to send a strong message that shoplifting will not be tolerated and those who undertake such activities will have to travel elsewhere to buy even the most basic essentials.

“At the meeting, statements were read out on behalf or store staff and management, describing how the act of having to watch those suspected of shoplifting the whole time they are in their stores and the affect it was having on their work and levels of stress.”

The scheme has proved highly effective in both Newcastle Emlyn and in Cardigan, where it was originally set up.

PCSO Steffan Jones was instrumental in introducing Steal and Be Banned to Cardigan and said: “This does work. The inconvenience it causes to shoplifters is massive.

“When I have people who have been banned coming up to me and asking when they can go back in shops, you know it has been effective.

“Steal from one and you are banned from all shops in the scheme. It has a massive deterrent effect and is also a great way for businesses to share information with each other and know who to keep an eye on.”

Anyone found guilty of a shoplifting offence either by penalty notice, caution or charged in court could face being placed on the scheme for a period of between three and 12 months.

A first offence carries a three month ban from the businesses involved, a second six months and a third carries a 12-month ban.

If a person who is banned from shops in the town then enters a business premises, they can be charged with more serious offences such as trespass and if they then steal, that could be upgraded to burglary.

All shops that sign up to the scheme display posters to warn would-be thieves.