POLICE officers have launched a scheme tackling anti-social behaviour and shoplifting on a popular out-of-town retail park.

Bishop Auckland Neighbourhood Police Team will spend the summer holidays patrolling Bishop Auckland Retail Park, in St Helen Auckland, as part of Operation Saro.

In addition, there will a number of community safety and bike marking events throughout the six-week period.

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Sergeant Jayne Burdess, of Bishop Auckland police, said: “We have worked really hard in partnership with the local shop watch scheme to monitor the low-level of crime and anti-social behaviour on that site throughout the summer holidays.

“We are focussing on known shoplifters and anything else that comes up. Anti-social behaviour is quite low there normally so we hope to keep it that way.”

On Saturday (July 26), officers will join firefighters for a fire safety day, between noon and 5pm. There will also be the chance for people to get their bikes security marked for free as part of Operation Spoke.

On Saturday, August 9, there will be an outdoor Pact meeting next to Costa Coffee between 1pm and 4pm. Again bike marking will be available.

Police drop-in sessions will also be held at Starbucks, between 2pm and 3pm, on Thursdays, July 31, August 14 and August 21.