Reason to celebrate 30 years after Crimestoppers started in Great …

Michael Cole, Matthew Ware and Jim Carter outside the former Yarmouth Mercury office.
Unveiling of a blue plaque to mark the 30th anniversary of Crimestoppers.

Picture: James Bass

Lauren Rogers
Monday, June 17, 2013
3:41 PM

Thirty years after Crimestoppers started in east Norfolk, the men who brought the crime-fighting scheme to Britain have been honoured.

A blue plaque was unveiled in Great Yarmouth today, marking 30 years since the scheme launched in the seaside town before being rolled out nationally.

The now familiar Crimestoppers scheme encourages people to anonymously pass information to police via a freephone telephone number or the web.

National statistics show that 22 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information passed to the independent charity, including one person charged with murder every seven days.

What is far less known is how the UK Crimestoppers began in Yarmouth in 1983 by Mike Cole, a detective inspector with Norfolk Constabulary, Jim Carter, manager of the town s Woolworth department store, and the late Peter Ware, then editor of the Yarmouth Mercury.

Mr Cole wanted to trial the scheme in Yarmouth after witnessing a Crimestoppers programme in Illinois, USA. After getting support from police chiefs, he met with local businesses and the media to get the ball rolling.

It was an instant success; businesses belonging to Yarmouth s Chamber of Commerce signed up and paid money into a Crimestoppers account.

The money was then paid to informants who called the police station on a special number and, each week, appeals and success stories were published in the Mercury: 100 reward offered after burglaries , Man sought after stabbing girl read the headlines.

Today (Monday), Mr Cole and Mr Carter were reunited outside the former office of the Great Yarmouth Mercury in Regent Street, along with Matthew Ware, son of Peter Ware, where a blue plaque commemorating the start of Crimestoppers was unveiled.

See tomorrow s EDP for more and this Friday s Great Yarmouth Mercury for a special anniversary supplement.

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