Shropshire Star

'I've never seen crime like this in 28 years': Tesco boss on track to lose £100,000 from gangs

A supermarket boss says his Tesco store is on track to lose up to £100,000 this year to organised crime.

Daniel Hyde. Picture: North Wales Police

Police just over the Welsh border recently launched Operation Lardy, which saw more than 100 officers go after an organised crime group believed to be supplying drugs in villages near Chirk.

A six-month protracted covert investigation into a suspected class A and class B drugs conspiracy resulted in 20 arrests over three days last week, including three at Manchester Airport.

More than 20 properties, including a canal barge, were targeted in areas including Cefn Mawr, Rhos, Acrefair, Chirk, Plas Madoc, Southsea, Penycae, Ruabon, Deeside, and Manchester.

North Wales Police followed that up with Operation Vardo where they have been out with partners in the Cefn Mawr and surrounding areas engaging and building trust with residents and the community to protect and regenerate the area affected by crime.

The 'relatively small' Tesco store at Cefn Mawr has been hit hard by a crime wave but the manager said the police operation is already making a difference.

Daniel Hyde, the Tesco store manager, said it has been a challenging time for the shop, which is seeing considerable organised theft, but told how recent police activity in the area has had a positive impact on his store.

In a video posted on Twitter Mr Hyde said: "In 28 years I've never seen theft so organised as it is at the moment.

"We are going to lose about £100,000 to unknown loss this year."

He revealed that organised gangs have been going into the store with "structured methods" to steal bulk alcohol and bulk health and beauty items.

But he added that the police operation in the area is making a real difference in removing some of the organised crime that has been going on.

"And that can only be a good thing for the area and our store," he added.

Police officers are visiting the Tesco in Cefn Mawr this week.

"We will be happy to talk, and listen to any concerns," said a spokesperson for Wrexham rural police.

Police will this week carry out targeted visible activity and increased patrols, as well as covert policing tactics to prevent further organised crime groups taking control in the vacuum created by all the recent arrests.

Inspector Matt Subacchi said: “Implementing this holistic approach will make it more difficult for organised crime groups to operate in the area.

“It will disrupt activity and will help to protect those living, visiting and working in Cefn Mawr. It will also assist those vulnerable to manipulation by organise crime groups.

“By working together and listening to residents’ needs, it is hoped Op Vardo will allow residents to reclaim their communities, build long-term resilience against organised crime groups and help prevent future threats.

“The aim is also to protect those that need protecting, safeguard those who are considered to be vulnerable, and offer support to the community.

“Officers and partners will be on hand to provide advice and services, in particular to those in need of assistance who may struggle to access help – some might need support with substance misuse, the cost of living, or the ability to prevent other types of crime from happening.

“We’ll be based at a pop-up mobile police station in a central location within the community every day to engage with residents around crime prevention and provide reassurance where needed.

“As part of Operation Vardo, I want to make sure residents and those living in the community have a good relationship with the police, so we can make the place a safer place to be.

“It is all about safeguarding, a wraparound service, but building good solid relationships, not just for today, but for tomorrow with our community.”

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