A GROCER has become one of 67 Somerset businesses to join a new co-operative scheme which aims to crackdown on crime and anti-social behaviour across the county.

The initiative, known as the DISC system is being run by Sedgemoor District Council in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, and aims to combine CCTV, radio link and sharing information online.

As part of the Safer Somerset Business Partnership, businesses pay to sign up and will have access to an app where intelligence can be shared between businesses, the police and the council in a bid to better deter crimes like shoplifting, theft and violence.

The scheme launched in Burnham-on-Sea on Wednesday (September 4) and Rich Gardiner-White, owner of Gardiner-Whites, was one of the first Burnham businesses to sign up to the scheme.

He said he hopes the new system will help crackdown on crime in the town and he hopes to get more businesses to sign up. 

He said: "We have had a number of thefts at our store over the last few months and we knew we needed to do something about it. "From our perspective the Safer Somerset Business Partnership is great because the DISC system will allow us to communicate with other businesses in the town and let them know who the offenders are so they can be aware of them.

"If we report something on DISC it will be logged not only for other businesses to see but for the police and council to see so if a thief is stealing things from a number of stores in the town the police know who they are.

"If they have stolen from a number of businesses in the town we can ban them from all shops involved in the scheme and if they are seen coming in again the police can then issue them with a warning which could later lead to prosecution.

"I hope being part of the Safer Somerset Business Partnership will help protect my business and other businesses in the town."

DISC administrator for Sedgemoor District Council Simon Bawler said businesses in Bridgwater, Taunton and Minehead have already signed up to the scheme and so far it has been successful in reducing business thefts in these areas.

He said: "We are really pleased that Gardiner-Whites has joined the Safer Somerset Business Partnership.

"The scheme lets businesses share information by bring two systems together - radio and the DISC system.

"Businesses can share images and profiles of known offenders and how they are committing crime with each other, the police and us.

"We are looking forward to working with businesses to crackdown on crime in Burnham-on-Sea."

Stuart Williams, Neighbourhood Lead for Safer Somerset Business Partnership, said: "We want to make sure we keep Burnham a safe place for businesses and residents and bring the community together. "We are looking forward to working with businesses and Sedgemoor District Council to reduce crime in Burnham-on-Sea."