A SHOPKEEPER has taken matters into her own hands after a spate of thefts.
Tina Tigar, who has run the Ruislip fashion boutique Step-in-Style for four years, has caught three shoplifters in the past three weeks – one of them a regular customer.
She said the problem had become worse than ever this Christmas, with household budgets stretched to the limit.
“The first time the lady tried to steal one of our dearest pieces of clothing, but I saw it happening,” Ms Tigar told the Gazette.
“We told her to give it back and never return to the shop again.”
A regular customer was also caught trying to steal clothes by stuffing them into her bag in the changing rooms.
“When we realised, my daughter ran out of the door to catch her in the street and marched her back to the shop. I said she should either pay for it or I would call the police, so she paid £109.99 for the two tops.”
Ms Tigar said she had not reported the thefts to police because she thought a conviction without CCTV evidence was unlikely. However, the Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) has insisted that all such crimes be reported, so they can be acted upon by officers.
A spokesman for Hillingdon police said: “To deal with the busy Christmas period the local SNT has changed shift patterns to coincide with trading hours in Ruislip.”
Ms Tigar said the third of the thefts in her shop before Christmas were by two men who created a distraction before stealing her daughter Victoria’s phone from the counter.
“A guy from the sports shop ran after them and caught one of them all the way down the other end of the High Street, and he was arrested by police.”
The suspect did not have the phone on him, however, and was later released on bail.