AN ‘ORGANISED group’ stole £250 worth of alcohol from an East Lothian Co-op store just weeks after police launched a crackdown on shoplifting in the county.

Police said they were called to the Co-op store on Links Road, Port Seton, last Friday morning after staff reported the gang targeting “high-end” alcohol on the premises.

When they arrived, it was discovered hundreds of pounds of the booze had been stolen.

A police report to Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council’s meeting on Tuesday described the incident as a “targeted theft of high-end alcohol by an organised group”.

In November, retailers in the Prestonpans, Longniddry and Cockenzie and Port Seton areas teamed up with Police Scotland to launch the Shopwatch initiative to reduce shoplifting in local stores.

The initiative aims to allow retailers to share relevant information with the police about suspected criminals and assist with the prosecution of offenders by ensuring that any linked incidents can be taken into account, increasing the chances of suspects being identified.

Police Scotland confirmed it was investigating the incident at the Co-op.

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: "We can confirm that there was a theft from our Port Seton store on Friday 5th January.

"The Co-op takes retail crime very seriously and implements a range of measures to both deter criminal activity and aid convictions. We appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the police.”