SHOPKEEPERS, staff and customers are being urged to step forward and report crimes in their community with a new campaign.

Maldon is the first town in the country to adopt Crimestoppers’ new StopAlert campaign.

It includes an alert notice with useful information and advice on what to do if they suspect or have seen a crime taking place.

The campaign, which will gradually be rolled out across Essex, is part of a wider programme which raises awareness about countryside crime.

Maldon District Council has shown its full support to protecting the community.

Spokesman Richard Holmes said: “Maldon District Council is a key member of the community safety partnership and has a close working relationship with partners such as Essex Police and the police, fire and crime commissioner, and charities such as Crimestoppers.

“Business crime is often a ‘hidden crime’ but it has a real impact on local economies, so we are committed to working closely with partners and businesses to reduce crime and promote new initiatives to address business crime.

“As a council, we will be updating the CCTV cameras in the High Street in 2020 and will be looking at ways in which the trade can protect their businesses more effectively.”

The campaign draws on a report by the Association of Convenience Stores which revealed 83 per cent of shop staff have been subjected to verbal abuse and increased violence within the past 12 months.

Crimestoppers volunteer Colin Dobinson said: “The reaction from shopkeepers we have spoken to so far has been very positive. We know that they, and their staff, have been enduring increased abuse and violence in recent times.

“It is totally unacceptable for someone to have to face violence and abuse whilst doing their job.”