A SHOP chain has joined forces with police to launch a crackdown on shoplifting after a major spike in the number of incidents.

Officers say the number of shoplifting incidents have soared in Tendring over the last year.

The average value of stolen items has also risen by 62 per cent and police fear organised criminal gangs are behind the trend.

They have now linked up with the East of England Co-op to trial a crime-cutting project at stores in Frinton, Clacton and Holland.

The campaign will include posters, new training for staff and a greater police presence to ward off crooks.

Acting police chief inspector Russ Cole said: “We welcome the support of the East of England Co-op to help us crack down on store theft.

"We are seeing much higher value items being stolen now and this suggests criminal gangs are in operation, so it’s important that we act now before the problem spirals out of control.”

The campaign was launched at the Co-op store in the Triangle shopping centre in Frinton on Monday.

It will also be trialled at the stores in Coopers Lane and Old Road in Clacton, as well as the Co-op in Holland-on-Sea.