A CRIME-FIGHTING businesswoman who helped police catch wanted criminals through a Shopwatch scheme has been honoured for her work.

Jennifer Kirby was presented with a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation in recognition for her work as chair of the Shopwatch scheme.

The initiative helps business owners crack down on shop thefts by sharing intelligence and alerting retailers and the police to persistent shoplifters.

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Ms Kirby, who has 25 years of experience in retail, took over as chair in 2009, and in 2010 and 2011, the scheme was named the best regional Shopwatch scheme in County Durham, as well as winning the service provider of the year award at the 2010 Year in Retail Awards.

She also helped to achieve a 100 per cent detection rate for shoplifting in Darlington town centre in August 2012.

Speaking at the presentation, Chief Superintendent Graham Hall said: “She has set a hard act to follow.

“In terms of retail crime, we have got to work together. Our partnerships are very important to us as we know we can’t do it all.”

Until recently Ms Kirby ran her outdoor clothing shop, 54 Degrees North, in Skinnergate, but has decided to close to concentrate more on her Barnard Castle store.

She said: “It is something I have always enjoyed doing.

“Everyone works together and that is what makes it so good.”