Police presence is a concern for some Dales businesses

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As budget cuts continue to threaten frontline policing, many Dales business owners are fearful that they could become “easy targets” as resources are spread thin.

While crime levels overall have dropped in the Dales, incidents of shoplifting and theft have increased in the last year, causing concern for some business owners.

Richard Young, who has run the Original Farmers Market Shop, in Bakewell, for 12 years with his wife Carolyn, said he was getting “very worried” about the lack of police in Bakewell, warning that shop owners could become “easy targets to out-of-town crooks hoping to monopolise on the lack of policing.

“I see more traffic wardens than police constables and if anything happens in the shop – we know [the police] aren’t there,” he said.

Dianne Hawksworth, of Pitstop Deli, Bakewell, said: “There has been a lot of thefts in Bakewell recently and shop owners have got to look after each other.”

Ellie Patten, of Book End, Bakewell, said: “When we first opened the shop, policemen would pop into the shop on routine visits, just to check everything was okay. But things like that seem to have stopped.”

But Sergeant Andy Wordsworth insists that police officers are on the streets, they are visible and are never far away.

“We’ve recruited more Special Constable’s and PCSO’s and have plain clothes and uniformed police officers patrolling at peak times,” he said.

There are a number of initiatives for concerned business owners. Call 101 for details