THE battle is set to continue against thieves who are hitting retailers in Dunfermline’s Kingsgate Centre.

Centre manager Neil Mackie made the pledge after Sheriff James Macdonald expressed fears that the shopping facility was facing a “crisis” due to the number of people being caught shoplifting.

Speaking while dealing with a case at Dunfermline Sheriff Court – which is situated opposite the retail outlet – Sheriff Macdonald said: “It is little wonder that Debenhams is in financial difficulties. I’m beginning to wonder if anyone buys anything from its Dunfermline store.

“This is yet another theft from the Kingsgate Centre. It seems to me that the level of thefts there is becoming a crisis.”

However, Mr Mackie insisted that the increasing numbers of people appearing in court on stealing offences was testimony to the work that the security staff of the Kingsgate centre – and Debenhams – were doing.

“We are detecting these thefts and seeing them through to prosecution,” he explained. “Is there a crisis? Yes – there is a crisis nationally. We are members of the Retailers Against Crime and it is happening all over Scotland, it is happening throughout the UK.

“The fact that we are catching these people and the justice system is dealing with them is good news. It is not good news, with the state of the economy, that these thefts are happening but the fact that we are curtailing it is testimony to the vigilance being carried out.

“We will be continuing to maintain vigilance. Thefts from any outlet is completely unacceptable.”