Pickpockets and shoplifters were targeted by undercover police.

Officers from the Watford Central Safer Neighbourhood Team dressed in plain clothes and detained a number of people following a targeted operation in the town centre last week.

The covert officers detained nine people who were acting suspiciously or committing offences and one man was arrested for breaching his Community Protection Notice.

Three women from Birmingham were detained on suspicion of sleight of hand and were banned from the intu before being escorted out of Watford.

Two women from Harrow were detained on suspicion of shoplifting and will be dealt with community resolution.

Two teenage girls were detained on suspicion of shoplifting. All suspected stolen items were recovered, and the girls were dealt with community resolution.

Ali Mohammed, 20, of Milling Road, Edgware, was charged with failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice. He has been released on bail and is due to appear at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on December 2.

One woman who was stopped and searched was found with nothing on her, but police recorded her details for future intelligence purposes.

PC Laura Grant, who led the operation, said: “This covert operation is a continuation of the wider work we have been doing to target those who travel into our town to commit crime.

“We want to reassure shoppers and businesses that we are conducting regular town centre patrols and would urge people who believe they are witnessing a crime in progress to please dial 999, as it gives us the best chance of attending promptly.”