The Huntingdonshire Business Against Crime (HBAC) group is hoping to build on the success of last year’s Christmas crackdown on shoplifting and anti-social behaviour in the district’s towns.

The independent group acts as a voice for businesses in Huntingdon, St Ives, and St Neots and works closely with Cambridgeshire police to reduce crime in the district's retail areas.

Operation Sunrise was launched for the first time in December 2016 and was hailed a success by HBAC, which hopes to continue the good work again in the run up to Christmas this year.

A spokesman for the group, which is based in Huntingdon, said the focus of the operation would be on shoplifting and pick-pocketing in town centres during the daytime, and on anti-social behaviour at night.

"For the daytime economy, the message is clear; we want people to keep their belongings safe and their belongings close by them. Don't take any chances because we know that there are pickpockets in the area," the spokesman said.

"We are working closely with the police and BID to tackle these types of crimes and we will be engaging with people who could be the victims."

HBAC said it had tailored Operation Sunrise around crime data collected over the October to January period in the district's town centres, in an effort to identify the types of crimes that were most prevalent in the run up to Christmas.

The spokesman said; "Already we have been into premises, making sure radios are on and giving advice and training. We want to get as much information out there as we can.

"The operation was phenomenal last year. Do we expect the same results this time? I don't know but this is a well-planned and targeted process, it's not off the cuff and we will be doing our best."