Shops are sharing mugshots of known town troublemakers with each other in a bid to kick offenders out of Boston’s high street.
The pictures are often CCTV images of thieves or nuisance shoppers – with firms sharing details of the people so they can be closely watched or barred from stores if necessary.
The ‘Facewatch’ scheme also allows shops to keep track of those ordered not to enter premises by the courts or police.
Shopwatch chairman Dan Forman said Facewatch – which began in April – is working well so far.
He said: “We’ve had incidents where people go from one end of the town and work their way across and if one member shares a photo of that person we can keep a look out.”
Since it started 34 users have taken part in the scheme – reporting 44 incidents and uploading 53 mugshots.
Details shared of troublemakers include a description, name, age and details of how they operate.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick was shown the system, which he gave a £900 grant to help set up, last week.
He praised its ‘toughness’, lack of bureaucracy and paperwork and said it increased the chances of criminals being caught.
He said: “It’s not always that you want them locking up, it’s you don’t want them in your business, you don’t want them in the town.”
He added: “It helps police, helps business and at the end of the day it lets shoplifters know that the chances of them being caught now are being increased. It’s a crime that can cost the taxpayer hundreds of pounds per year.”
The Facewatch pictures will not be made public since some of those targeted have not been found guilty of an offence.
However, Mr Forman said shops must have some evidence that a person is suspected of crime of anti-social behaviour before circulating their mugshot.
The scheme forms part of the fight to tackle shoplifters which has also included displaying mug shots in shop windows.