Uckfield retailers are setting up a WhatsApp group to alert each other quickly when shoplifters are spotted in town.
The decision follows an incident on Saturday when a team of thieves were captured on CCTV off-loading their haul into a waiting vehicle.
Staff at SG Home Interiors, in Bell Farm Lane, realised something was wrong when a bronze-look statue of a gorilla went missing from their outside display.
When they checked CCTV later they spotted it being loaded into a vehicle next to their showroom along with other goods which had been hidden in their clothes.
The CCTV images are of very good quality, clearly showing the people involved and the registration of their getaway vehicle, according to Debbie Reed from SG Home Interiors, the kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms retailer which also stocks home accessories.
Police have been informed and video and photographs are ready to be handed to them in the hope they will investigate what appears to have been more than a one-off theft.
Debbie said the idea for an Uckfield Shop Watch WhatsApp group came from another retailer and she had volunteered to set it up and add contact details of those who would like to be included.
“Technology has moved on from the days when shop watch groups had radios to alert each other and WhatsApp is a very simple way of reaching a lot of people with information very quickly.
“Most of us these days have a mobile phone and a WhatsApp message is instant while a post on, say, Facebook might not be seen for a few days.”
If you would like to know more, and get involved in Uckfield Shop Watch, please contact Debbie on 01273 813332 or email her at email@example.com.