POLICE are launching a crackdown on crime in Barrhead to make sure it isn’t a merry Christmas for crooks.

As part of a winter initiative, more officers in uniform will be deployed in the town’s Main Street and Cross Arthurlie Street to deter potential pickpockets.

Police will also be deploying officers in plain clothes in the initiative, which they say will help them fight anti-social behaviour in front of the Asda store and the Barrhead Foundry.

Deputy area commander John McQuilter said: “Officers will be deployed in and around the busiest shopping area of Barrhead throughout the festive shopping period.

“In that time they will be carrying out shop-to-shop visits in order to speak with local business owners about how they can best work with Police Scotland on protecting their businesses and customers.”

Last month police gave a quarterly statement that revealed the number of assaults in Barrhead was on the rise.

Recent incidents have included a 20-year-old man being left with a serious head wound after he was attacked with a bottle by a drunken thug.

And last week The News told how a specialist police squad, dubbed the problem-solving team, have been operating within East Renfrewshire to tackle a rise in youth disorder at the Barrhead Foundry.

Problems there had escalated to the stage where customers were having to be escorted from the Main Street building by uniformed officers.

Young louts have also caused damage to the community hub, which they are using as a spot to hang out, attracted by its free wi-fi.

Inspector McQuilter said: “In the past week we have seen two youths reported for alleged offences and we will be assigning additional resources to the area in an effort to provide a visible, re-assuring presence.

“In addition to this, the problem-solving team, headed by Sergeant Jim Boyle, will also be looking into the issue.”

To report a crime in Barrhead, call the police on 101.