Shoppers in York are to be asked to give their thumbprint when using cheque and credit cards, as part of a crackdown on credit card fraud.

The scheme has been tried elsewhere and has already led to dramatic reductions in fraud in owns and cities, including Whitby and Leeds.

PC Neville King, community beat officer for York city centre, said thumbprints were not kept or used by police unless it was later found that the credit card or cheque was stolen.

Police recently arrested two people who broke into a doctor's house and, within hours, had bought goods in five different stores using stolen credit cards, before the owners even knew they had been burgled.

PC King said: "We have dealt with five travelling teams recently and each had between £2,000 and £5,000 of property from one day's trip.

"We arrested a team from London who targeted the designer outlet then the city centre."

Simon Williams, chairman of Retailers Against Crime in York, said: "I have had reports from other cities and credit card and cheque thefts have dropped. It looks a very good idea."