Bunhill: Dixon's heavies

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The Independent Online
STANLEY KALMS, chairman of Dixons, was in pugnacious mood last week, telling a crime conference how he 'sends in the heavies' to oust squatters from empty stores. Dixons had been forced into a vigilante role to combat thieves who cost it pounds 20m a year.

Tony Burns-Howell, head of security at Dixons, was tight- lipped when I asked how Mr Kalms recruits his heavies. But the former Met commander had good news on the epidemic of wire-cutting that plagued Dixons last year. Thieves were disabling the security arrangements of entire high streets simply by lifting the unlocked BT manhole covers and snipping. But they have been foiled by new devices that alert Dixons immediately. Of the 52 wire-cuts since 1 December, only once have the thieves got away with any loot, says Burns-Howell.

What Kalms didn't mention was that much of the theft is by his own staff. About 400 Dixons employees are arrested or fired each year for theft or related crimes.