I READ the article about shoplifting by Tom Burgess, “Shoplifting ‘epidemic’ on the rise” (Echo, June 20).

It is certainly time something happened to these habitual thieves/shoplifters who think it is their right to deprive businesses of their incomes and profits.

Twice I have seen shoplifters in operation – one just recently and the other a few years ago.

Both times I could have identified them or even made a citizen’s arrest.

The one a few years ago stole an item valued at more than £100 from a well-known chemist but the shop didn’t do anything about it.

They didn’t even want to know my name as a witness.

The recent one just last week took goods off a shelf and put them inside their anorak, zipped it up and walked out of the shop so blatantly.

It is time these shops either employ a store detective to cover so many shops each and the culprits taken to magistrates courts and made to either do community service or return or pay for the goods.

Why should we law abiding citizens have to suffer higher prices because of the greed of some people?

We also must remember that it is all walks of life that go shoplifting – someone that I knew of years ago treated shoplifting as a hobby.

Community policing in plain clothes wandering about would catch a fair few of them. They are criminals and should be treated as criminals.

Is it time to have a separate court for shoplifters?

Have a few of them in the same court at the same time to cut down on costs.

I would certainly sit on the bench to mete out the punishment and then the courts’ decisions could be printed in the newspapers for all of us to see.

To all shoplifters and thieves it is not your “right” to steal – if you want something either work for it or do without, but no, you won’t do without because you all think it is your right to have things what you want whether you pay for it or not.

Well, it isn’t your right.

To the shops: get together and try and sort something out.

Use a member of staff in plain clothes to have a walk around each other’s stores and observe for an hour.

Name supplied, Darlington.