Police close in on prolific shoplifters
TWO prolific shoplifters came within moments of being caught by police in a chase from Cottingham to Hull.
The pair have targeted shops in the village repeatedly since December, stealing hundreds of pounds from Boots in Hallgate.
Police chased them all the way to Orchard Park before the trail went cold.
PC Steve Morley, of the Cottingham neighbourhood team, is leading the investigation into the thefts.
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He said: "We came close to apprehending them.
"I chased them down to Orchard Park.
"They were both on bikes and they managed to get away."
Catching the duo is now a top priority for village police.
They have been working closely with Hull officers to try to find them.
PC Morley said: "They've both been identified and we're making efforts to locate and track them.
"On average, they are taking a couple of hundred pounds-worth of products from Boots.
"It's a mix of expensive cosmetics and items such as shavers and toothbrushes."
CCTV footage from Boots has helped identify the two men, who police said were both in their early to mid-20s.
CCTV cameras at the nearby Civic Centre are also being repositioned to command a better view of the street.
PC Morley said: "We've relocated some of the cameras and put some extra dome cameras in for 360-degree coverage.
"Hopefully, that will enable us to utilise the hall's CCTV system.
"We're also working with Boots to reduce the risk of any further thefts."
Because the thieves move through Cottingham so quickly, catching them in the act is the best option.
Police are keeping a close eye on Boots throughout the day.
PC Morley said: "They're in the village for only a matter of minutes. They come in on their bikes, go into the target shop, they're in for seconds and then they're out again."
The criminals have been changing their clothes and hiding their faces to avoid being recognised.
PC Morley said: "They seem to be coming in wearing a variety of clothing.
"One of them on the last two occasions has been running into the store with a scarf on his face.
"They tend to target the shop either when it's really busy and the staff are preoccupied, or when it's empty and the staff are doing other business."
Although the thieves escaped when PC Morley chased them on Tuesday afternoon, the officer said the net was closing. He said: "It's only a matter of time before they get caught."