Police carrying out a force-wide crackdown on shoplifting have arrested almost 350 people – including 45 in North Tyneside.
The Northumbria Police initiative was launched at the end of November.
Police said the operation has resulted in a reduction in shoplifting offences compared to the weeks preceding the launch, while the detection rate stands at almost 80 per cent – meaning four out of every five offences are detected.
Northumbria Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Gary Calvert said: “The operation has so far been successful with hundreds of arrests and a reduction in offences across the force.
“The aim was to reduce shop thefts during a time when our towns and cities were crowded with Christmas shoppers and when shop thefts historically rise, and we’ve so far seen positive results.
“The activity will continue into January.”
Activity has also included extra high profile and plain clothes patrols.
Officers have also been working with retailers and shop security staff, and using CCTV and Shopwatch schemes.
Known offenders have been pro-actively targeted throughout and warned about the operation and anyone arrested has, where appropriate, been given bail conditions preventing them from entering town and city centres.
T/ACC Calvert added: “People sometimes view shoplifting as a victimless crime which doesn’t have much of an impact on the community but that is certainly not the case.
“Every time something is stolen the retailer loses money and as a result, this can mean prices go up or, worse, people lose their jobs. I’d like to reassure people that operations are continuing to ensure our towns and cities remain a safe place for people to visit.”
In Newcastle there were 118 arrests, Sunderland clocked up 66, and in nearby Northumberland there were 28.