London, Aug 12 (ANI): A life-size cut-out of a police officer guarding the entrance and aisles of a shop in Leigh has been so effective that shoplifting been slashed by 75 percent.
Unwitting customers have even tried to have a chat with their new local policeman before realising it is a fake.
The cardboard cop, nicknamed PC Boardman and based on a real Greater Manchester Police officer, was placed at Asda last October after police were called out several times a day to deal with prolific thieves.
The force recently announced it is axing 290 frontline jobs as it tries to save 135 million pounds by 2015.
The cardboard figure has been hailed as a success - despite shoppers making jokey references about Blunkett's plastic police following criticism of Britain's police community support officers.
We used to talk about the plastic police and now we have the cardboard police. It's just a pity we can't have more real police around, the Daily Mail quoted shopper John West, 48, as saying.
Real officers still visit the store and the force claims it has freed up their time to deal with crime elsewhere.
GMP's Supt Andrea Jones said: The figures speak for themselves, as a 75 percent reduction in shoplifting offences demonstrates just how successful partnership working is.
This sends out a clear message to shoplifters that their actions will not be tolerated and I hope it reassures the law-abiding community that we are serious about reducing crime and making Wigan a safer place to live, Jones added.
Andrew Lawson, Investigations Manager at ASDA in Leigh said: Asda are currently forging strong working relationships with the police around Greater Manchester.
This project is a great example of how partners can work together to reduce crime.
The work is part of a pilot scheme and is to be rolled out across Greater Manchester. (ANI)