POLICE are vowing to tackle shoplifiting and retail crime after a spate of thefts in Taunton this month.

Officers investigating a string of thefts at supermarkets and shops have released a series of CCTV images of people they want to speak to.

In one of the incidents, a suspect was chased through the town centre after more than £200 worth of food and alcohol was stolen.

Sgt Neil Kimmins from Taunton Police Station said: “We suspect the people involved in these offences are regularly involved in shop thefts, not just in Taunton but around Somerset.

“Many people think that shoplifting, particularly from larger stores or chains, is a victimless crime.

“However that’s not the case and it affects us all with prices rise to cover losses and increased insurance premiums having a detrimental effect on both the local and national economy.”

“If you buy stolen goods from someone, you could be arrested for handling stolen property.

“I would encourage people to let us know if they recognise any of the people in these CCTV images.”

The incidents police are investigating include a theft from Asda in Creechbarrow Road on Friday, August 15.

Police say that around 5.30pm, a woman entered the store and used the self-service checkout, but left without paying for various items.

People would like to speak to the woman in picture 1 about this incident.

Officers are also investigating two thefts from Marks and Spencer.

On August 5, several items of women’s clothing were taken at around 11.55am.

Police would like to speak to the women in pictures 2 or 3 about this incident.

On August 9, almost £200 worth of food and alcohol was stolen.

A suspect was chased by police after he fled the store.

Police would like to speak to the man in picture 4 about this incident.

Another theft was reported to police on August 7 at 2pm, after three sets of headphones with a total value of £268 were stolen from Maplin’s in County Walk.

Police would like to speak to the two men and one woman in picture 5.

Anybody with information about any of these incidents can contact police via 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800-555111