WEST DORSET businesses have been neglected by police in a week of action to combat shoplifting - despite rising concerns about the crime being on the increase in the area.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Rachel Farrell, of Dorset Police, said:  “We recently conducted a week of action across Dorset which was aimed at working with business owners, security staff and partners as an opportunity to join together to tackle business crime in their communities.

“We were able to achieve some really positive results during this week of action, which included being able to speak with almost 400 businesses and people, make 22 arrests and recover hundreds of pounds worth of stolen goods."

However, only 13 west Dorset businesses were contacted out of the 400, whilst nine arrests were made in the region over the course of the ‘week of action’.

West Bay businesses have spoken to the News in recent weeks about 2023 being "the worst year" for shoplifting.

Dorset Police responded, saying: "From Monday 17 October 2023 Dorset Police will be supporting a national week of action on business crime and we will be increasing our engagement with local retailers in the Bridport and West Bay area even further during this period."

Speaking previously, police said that shoplifting statistics in West Bay were low, with only one case reported between June and August of 2023.

Sandy Manson, store manager at the SPAR store in West Bay, said she thought the reason shoplifting wasn't being reported to police was because there was 'no point' as police would be unlikely to show up.

She added: "The reason that shoplifting statistics are low here is because there is just no point in reporting it.

"Unless it is over a certain amount, they won't send an officer or if someone was threatened or assaulted.

"It just makes you think, well why bother anyway, we can deal with it ourselves."

Beverley Beavis, director of Customs House Emporium in West Bay, also agreed  that 2023 has been "the worst year" for shoplifting.

She said: "We haven't seen any police here.

"I have had big problems, this has been the worst year for shoplifting and even people taking big items, the absolute cheek of it.

"I would like to see more of a police presence in West Bay."