Friday, 15 April 2011

'Smoke Screen' Forces Thieves to Flee Empty Handed

By Ben Aulakh

A ‘smoke screen’ which has forced would-be robbers and burglars to flee empty handed from Leicester’s Golden Mile was demonstrated by police in the city this week.

The new deterrent creates a thick wall of smoke around potential criminals, preventing them from seeing anything.

The device was shown off a Bipin’s Jewellers, Belgrave Road, Leicester by police, after a spate of robberies on the city’s ‘golden mile’ forced local retailers to take action.

The “smoke screen” fills any premises to which it is fitted with thick smoke, making it impossible for criminals to see what they want to steal.

The devices have already gone off twice this year at jewellery shops on Belgrave Road, Leicester, on both occasions the raiders left empty-handed.

Fitting the new deterrents was one of the recommendations Leicestershire Constabulary made to the retailers, following a recent series of robberies at the shops.

Sergeant Sarah Widdowson, Belgrave neighbourhood policing team said, “When the device goes off it absolutely fills the shop – you cannot see anything.

“We want would-be offenders to know that if they target Leicester jewellers, the chances are that they will get nothing, and then we will pursue them vigorously.”

Sergeant Widdowson said that since the robbery problems emerged last year, officers have increased uniformed patrols along Belgrave Road.

The police have also opened a new office within the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, and they have held regular meetings with traders to offer crime prevention advice and listen to their concerns.

Romil Patani, a spokesman for the jewellers, said many of the shops were using smoke devices.

“When it goes off, you can see no more than an inch in front of you, it should be a good deterrent.

“All the shops have been upgrading their security – we are working with the police, and the police are working with us.

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