RETAILERS in Wells has set up a WhatsApp group to protect their businesses after a spike in shoplifting in the area.

The Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset has joined a police patrol in a bid to reassure businesses on the High Street.

In August, officers from Wells Neighbourhood Policing Team acted following reports of "increased tension amongst businesses" in the city centre caused by "an increase in shop thefts during the summer months".

The retailers now have over 170 businesses that are joined up, including supermarkets, high street multiples, pubs, hotels, hair, independents, market traders, outlying businesses, and many more types in a bid to tackle the problem.

They said the input from the group is "fantastic" and added that they "have a good working relationship with our local police".

Wells Chamber of Commerce sponsored stickers to go in shop windows warning customers they will be caught on camera, and it will be shared with the city’s other businesses.

The Somerset County Gazette has contacted Avon and Somerset Police for a comment.