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August 6, 2009 1:13 PM

A Home Office Minister visited Newcastle today to see the good work the city council is doing to reduce retail crime.

Alan Campbell visited two shopping areas in Kenton, accompanied by Councillor Anita Lower, chair of the Safe Newcastle Partnership.

One of the shopping areas has seen a drop in crime following work by the Partnership to improve the environment and install CCTV cameras.

At the other location work is beginning to improve the environment and increase shop security following reports of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Campbell was in Newcastle to launch a £5 million fund for small retailers to buy security devices such as alarms, UV markers or radios.

The Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP), which has been drawn up in partnership with the retail industry, details a broad range of actions to tackle crimes against retailers and small businesses.

Newcastle is one of more than 50 local authorities than can bid for grants from the Small Retailer Grants Fund.