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Police patrol 'ghost town' as shops fear lockdown break-ins

Police in Northamptonshire have been carrying out patrols amid fears empty shops could be targeted by thieves.

Some business owners who have been forced to shut their doors fear burglars will focus on commercial buildings rather than houses now people are spending more time at home.

Last month the Northampton Hope Centre charity shop was broken into.

Staff are so worried it could happen again they are taking it in turns to walk past the shop during their daily exercise in order to keep an eye on it.

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Coronavirus: Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

“It’s a big concern for us,” said fundraising and marketing manager Louise Danielczuk.

“Obviously with there not being many people about there is a big potential that our shop, like many others, could get broken into in the town centre.

“We’ve got a lot of people that are watching out for us, checking it for us.

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“We keep coming down and checking regularly, but it’s obviously a big concern that if we lose any of our stock again it will have a big impact on the charity when we do want to get back open again.”

By night the town’s streets are eerily quiet.

PCs Sean Whelan and Lewis Marks from Northamptonshire Police are among those out on foot, keeping an eye on businesses.

“We are, as we are tonight, actively patrolling these areas,” said PC Marks

“Usually this place on a Friday night is booming with people out drinking and having a good time. Tonight it’s a ghost town, it’s completely different,” PC Whelan added.

“Potentially it’s leaving businesses a bit more vulnerable.”

Police have been contacting businesses to advise them to remove any valuables from shops.

Anyone who is on the streets after dark is challenged. If they have no reason to be out they are told to return home.

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