EXTRA security has been deployed across Romsey to cut down crime over Christmas.

Romsey Town Centre sees a peak in retail and street crime in the lead up to Christmas, this activity is often undertaken by organised professional criminals who move into areas such as Romsey.

Two security guards, from AEC Protection, will be patrolling the streets at all times and a radio scheme to link the shops to the guards will be in place.

Aidan Cooper, Managing Director of AEC Protection said: "The radio scheme means shops can contact the two guards who are patrolling at the time they need.

"Just having two guards looking over your shoulder gives staff a peace of mind.

"When staff are locking their shops up when it is dark at 5pm, it just means they are not on their own and someone is checking on them."

Aidan, from Romsey, said they received such a good response last year, so they were funded by the council to do the scheme for a second year.

Councillor Nick Adam-King facilitated the grant from Romsey Future and Test Valley Borough Council.

Member of Romsey Future, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "The feedback we had last year from both retailers and members of the public was very positive about the security scheme.

"Romsey future were therefore pleased to agree to help fund the scheme this year as well.

"This sends a clear message to any criminal thinking that they can Target the town over the Christmas period, that the whole community in Romsey is united in ensuring our town centre remains safe and our businesses successful."

Mark Edgerley, Romsey Town Centre Manager said: “I am delighted that using funds from Romsey Future, TVBC and the Town Council we are able to organise this extra security to help protect the local retailers and shoppers from the activities of criminals as we approach the busy Christmas Shopping period.

"Romsey has excellent retail businesses that offer a large range of gift items, with the additional security we hope residents and visitors alike safely enjoy their shopping excursions into Romsey.”

He said some retailers are also increasing their security with uniformed and plain clothes security officers dedicated to their premises.

The Romsey Future initiative began on December 1.

The scheme runs along side Hampshire Police's Operation Scrooge, which is the Test Valley district’s annual campaign to target shoplifters and retail crime during the Christmas period.