A MAN has been arrested as part of a police operation aimed at clamping down on shoplifters and drug abuse in a North-East town.

About 15 officers took part in the ‘surge’ in Darlington town centre on Tuesday (December 18) lunch time.

The man, who is in his late 20s, was arrested on suspicion of being in breach of his bail conditions.

As part of the operation, a sniffer dog was used to look for drugs in five town centre pubs – none were found.

Police also carried out a number of stop-and-searches as part of the operation, which is aimed at reassuring shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.

Sergeant Dave Barker, head of the Darlington town centre police team, said the operation had been a success.

He said: “Over the Christmas and New Year period, we will be putting measures in place to deter shoplifters and pick up known criminals.

“We took a passive drugs dog into five pubs and there was no indication of drugs in any of them.

“My intention is to run several of these operations leading up to Christmas and in between then and New Year.

“People might think they can get away [with commiting drugs offences in pubs], but we only have to be lucky that one time and we have had some substantial sentences handed out on previous occasions.

“We could be coming any time – day or night.”