Okehampton Police have arrested and charged a man with 17 counts of shoplifting in the town, set to appear at Exeter Magistrates' Court today.

Following on from a heated public meeting between shopowners in Okehampton on Tuesday evening and reports logged several weeks ago regarding a spike in shoplifting in Okehampton, police have identified a single suspect responsible for a series of theft offences in the town.

On April 12 (yesterday), Response and Neighbourhood officers from Okehampton arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of these shoplifting offences. He has been charged with 17 counts of shoplifting and remanded to appear in Exeter Magistrates today.

West Devon sergeant Tom Ottley said: 'I would like to reassure the public and business owners that we will respond robustly to incidents such as this and work with our communities to protect their livelihoods.'

For full details of the meeting held on Tuesday, see next week's edition of the Okehampton Times.