MAPS are being handed out to people on bail making it crystal clear where they can and cannot go in Southend.

Police are particularly focusing on those suspected of shoplifting and brawling.

So far four people have been given the maps as part of their bail conditions.

Earlier this month a prolific 16-year-old shoplifter was told to keep out of the High Street.

The youngster had admitted stealing clothes from H&M.

Sgt Bill Potter, of the town’s beat section, said: “When the recidivists come in day in day out they say the only way they stay out of the town is if we give them these bail conditions.

“They actually say give me that map, they then tell their mates they can’t go into town and steal for them.

“I’m sure some people do disregard it, but it’s been quite successful.

“Solicitors were up in arms about it because people were banned from seeing them in their offices, but they’ve got used to the fact that’s what we do.”

The police now provide one of two sets of pocket guides depending on the suspects circumstances.

The larger one covers the area from Queensway down to the seafront and a large section of the Milton ward.

The smaller, more specific, map covers the High Street and Chichester Road areas.

Sgt Potter explained: “Sometimes people live in the area and have to use the job centre, pharmacies, or drug treatment clinics, so we’ve got the smaller map for them.”

Dawn Jeakings, chairman of Southend Town Centre Partnership, is backing the police’s approach.

She said: “What they are doing is a new thing and it does seem to be working.

“Keeping shoplifters away until their cases are sorted out has got to be a good, positive thing.”