POLICE say they will not hesitate to ask for shoplifters to be banned from stores where they live if they continue to offend.

The warning comes as two west Cumbrian men were prosecuted for theft and subsequently banned from a number of shops in the area.

Officers now say more bans could be slapped on offenders as a reminder that the force takes retail crime very seriously.

In separate cases, Thomas Dempsey, 29, and Albert Newell, 24, both had restrictions placed on where they can go – to protect shops and businesses. The restrictions cover both men for three years each.

Dempsey, of Crosby Street, Maryport, appeared before the magistrates’ court in Workington, where he was found guilty of theft.

An existing criminal behaviour order made in 2015 was varied, with extra conditions granted.

Dempsey must not enter Senhouse Street, Maryport, between 8am and 6pm every day, except for collecting prescribed medication and Curzon Street, Maryport, between 8am and 6pm every day, except when travelling in a motor vehicle or when collecting prescribed medication.

Newell, of Pica Cottages, Pica, Workington, appeared before the same court where he was also found guilty of theft.

Newell must not enter any property or premises that are members of the Workington and Whitehaven Shop Watch schemes, any Asda or Co-op stores in west Cumbria, Pelican Service Station, Loop Road, Whitehaven, Home Bargains, Preston Street, Whitehaven and the Spar, in Richmond Hill Road, Whitehaven.

PC Laura Tyson is the problem solving officer at the Allerdale Local Focus Hub. She said: “Criminal behaviour orders are a useful tool available to the courts, which can help stop the offender committing further crimes and protect local businesses. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. It hits businesses, which contribute to the west Cumbrian economy and provide jobs.

“I would encourage anyone who witnesses the terms of such a court order being broken to contact the police immediately.”

Sergeant Lorraine Murphy said officers continued to work with businesses and Shop Watch schemes in west Cumbria to prevent crimes such as shoplifting.

She said: “Schemes such as Shop Watch are a huge help to police and we’re very grateful for the work they do. Officers, Shop Watch representatives and retailers work together - with the aim of preventing retail crime, such as shoplifting.”