THIS is the moment a shoplifter was tackled by a member of staff as they tried to leave a clothes shop without paying for hundreds of pounds worth of stock.

Pat Bright, of Ken Varey Town and Country Wear, tackled the shoplifter who tried to walk out of the Clitheroe shop with more than £500 worth of clothes on Thursday.

CCTV footage showed a woman with bright red hair and wearing a black dress walking out with a bag on her back.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

The footage shows the woman trying to leave the shop before she was stopped by Ms Bright who tries to pull the bag back into the store.

Her colleague, Luke Howarth, stepped in to help and the pair managed to get a coat, worth around £260, back into the store, before the woman walked away with another coat, believed to be worth a similar price.

Kevin Horkin, who has owned the store for 28 years, said: "My staff were very courageous.

"But they should not have to be in the position to tackle thieves.

"It was audacious for someone to come in and attempt to steal.

"I put it down to the police crime commissioner closing the front desk.

"Since then a lot of people have realised when they come to Clitheroe and they don't see police officers.

"This encourages people to try and break the law because they think they can get away with it.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Mr Horkin said CCTV showed the woman had walked in with a man, who also left the shop.

Mr Horkin 56, a former Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Hyndburn, said a £500 reward is available for those who can provide identification for the conviction of the offenders.

He said: "We called the police and they said no one was free, they called back later and said someone would come round to look at CCTV.

"It has been more than six days since that call and we've still not been visited by an officer.

"Policing in the Ribble Valley is not fit for purpose.

"Where has it all gone wrong?"

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A police spokesman said: "We were called at 15:21 on Tuesday, June 5, to a report of shoplifting at Ken Varey Town and Country Wear shop on New Market Street in Clitheroe.

"Officers were dealing with a number of serious incidents at the time of the report so were unable to attend straight away.

"Contact was later made with the shop and officers are making enquiries including reviewing CCTV.

"Anyone with information should call 101 quoting crime reference number 04/105736/19."

The spokesman said despite the front counter being shut, Clitheroe's police station remains open.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's police and crime commissioner, said: "The decision to close Clitheroe front counter was taken after a review showed that the number of people who used the service continued to fall.

"We are always looking at how the public want to report crimes and I've made a significant investment into our force control room and online reporting due to increasing demand for these services.

"Whilst closing front counters is not something we wanted to do, this was part of the ongoing work to meet the funding gap which we continue to manage.

"Lancashire Constabulary has had to find savings of over £84million since 2010 as a result of continued austerity from government with a further £18million still to find.

"Clitheroe station itself remains operational and the closure of the front counter service does not change how the area is policed.

"Members of the public can still contact local officers, engage with local policing teams and gain the help and support they need.

"In addition to the officers in neighbourhood teams across the Ribble Valley, the police can call on response officers, detectives, specialist units and all the policing resources they may need to respond to incidents wherever they may happen."