THE police has launched an operation against shoplifting in a bid to deter would-be offenders.

Police Constable Clifford Green, of Malvern police station, has organised a repeat of Operation Blast, which took place in December.

The new operation started on Saturday, April 1, and police claim they have already received positive feedback from local retailers.

Police visibility in retail areas around Malvern has been increased as part of the operation.

PC Green said: "Our main message to would-be offenders is that Malvern is not an easy touch.

"If you want to commit a crime, go elsewhere.

"This operation is about preventing crime. We speak to members of staff and security guards.

"The reassurance they say they are getting from us doing this is a lot.

"So far during the operation we have identified and apprehended a number of shoplifters who are currently waiting prosecution through the courts."

But PC Green said the operation should not be measured by the number of arrests they make.

He said that December's operation led to a drop in the number of thefts.

The officer added that they are dealing with offenders in a number of different ways, which does not always include taking them into custody.

He said they are engaging with known shoplifters and deterring them from offending.

The operation has not been organised in response to an increase in crime.

Instead it is an initiative intended to maintain low crime levels in Malvern, and also focuses on purse thefts and fraud.

Plain clothes police officers have also been patrolling local retail areas as part of the operation.