Police have not been seen at a West Bay shop since last June, a manager has told the Bridport News - despite a week of targeted action across the county to tackle shoplifting.

Staff at the SPAR store in West Bay claim shoplifting in the area is "getting worse".

Sandy Manson, store manager, said: "I have not seen a single policeman since I started last June.

"Unless they have been in to buy something, I haven't seen a police officer or a Community Support Officer.

"It makes you think you are on your own, it is as if because we are not in the town centre we are not getting a visit.

"We also haven't got shops to cover us, Bridport SPAR has shops on either side of them to shield them or give them a heads up, we have got nothing."

Megan Hewlett, 25, a staff member at SPAR, said: "I have worked here for six months and shoplifting has happened for the whole time I have been here."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: SPAR in West BaySPAR in West Bay (Image: Tom Lawrence)


"If anything it is still getting worse now that there are no holidaymakers around.

"It would be really nice to have police to come and help, I haven't seen any police in the six months I have been working here."

The News has spoken to West Bay businesses in the last few weeks who have told of shoplifting in 2023 being the 'worst it has ever been'.

In the summer, ice-cream kiosk Baboo Galato had a tip jar stolen from a counter, whilst in September, gift shop staff said they had to rearrange their entire layout to try and stop shoplifters from stealing in blind spots.

A police spokesperson said: "Dorset Police regularly reviews its approach to tackling business crime and looks at bespoke ways of delivering for local communities in a way that works for them. This includes working in partnership with local councils, retailers and business improvement districts."

"During Business Crime Awareness Week from Monday, October 16 to Sunday, October 22, Dorset Police held two events in Bridport, with engagement centres set up outside Bartletts Country Store and the Morrisons supermarket.

"Dorset Police fully acknowledges the significant impact that shoplifting has on local businesses. It is a priority of the neighbourhood policing team to ensure that business owners feel like their concerns are being listened to and addressed.

"We will take proactive action in response to any issues reported in the Bridport and West Bay areas.

"Dorset Police would urge any victims of crime to report each incident and anyone with information to please get in contact. This will enable officers to conduct investigations and take appropriate action.

"Anyone with information please contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk or by calling 101. If crime is in progress, please dial 999."