Finchley Road shopkeepers’ community stand against thieves

Shopkeepers and police are channelling “old fashioned community spirit” to take a stand against thieves who have cost businesses thousands of pounds.

Small boutiques and chain stores in Temple Fortune have proved a fertile hunting ground for thieves in the last few years, with criminals recently involved in stealing air conditioning units costing up to �7,000.

But new bobby-on-the-beat PCSO George Gibbons has rallied old fashioned community spirit and supported shopkeepers to set up a business watch scheme along Finchley Road to tackle the problem.

Dr Bill Jones, of Larizia luxury shoe and handbag shop, who is co-ordinator of the business watch scheme, said: “After all this pilfering and petty crime we decided enough is enough.

“When the police came on board we decided to get everyone in the village together and keep and eye out for each other.”

Larizia has had three ram-raid attacks and thieves persistently steal designer items worth up to �600.

Dr Jones stumped up the cash for some stickers and around 50 businesses along the shopping thoroughfare have opted into the scheme.

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PSCO Gibbons, who spearheaded the idea, said: “Compared to what it was like a few months ago, we’re getting a lot of positive feedback. There was a perception that the police might not be dealing with incidents, but it’s all very quiet down here now.”