Businesses in Baildon have joined forces under a new crime-fighting initiative to tackle shoplifters, tricksters and yobs.

The new Business Watch scheme launched in the village last night is aimed at reducing crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.

West Yorkshire Police say Business Watch improves communication between traders and with the police. It also allows shopkeepers to share information about known offenders and new crime methods.

Sergeant Esther Hobbs said Baildon's business community was growing and around 40 shops, offices and restaurants from the village were invited to the first Business Watch meeting.

"It's a crime-prevention mechanism and a crime-fighting group. It means we can work together to spread the word about troublemakers and sort out any other problems in the village which could affect trade," said Sgt Hobbs.

David Shaw, of Browgate Antiques, said: "I hope it makes it easier for businesses to pass on information to each other, but for that to happen you need people to participate.

"We could have done with it a couple of years ago when a couple of dodgy youths came in here. They went up to another shop and pinched the till, so it would have been better if we had been able to contact the other businesses to tip them off."

Mr Shaw said the Business Watch scheme would help people gather and share information about troublemakers in the village.

"There is a problem with youths hanging around and causing petty damage," he added.

Kuldep Singh, owner of Westgate Stores, said: "It's a great idea in principle. The CCTV cameras and the police community officers are already a good deterrent and this will add to that."

Eric Poli, of Poli Catering Service, said sharing information would help shopkeepers to be on their guard against scams.

He added that a lot of people in the village were still worried about anti-social behaviour from groups of youths.

Sunafor Ali, of the Rupali restaurant, said: "It's a good idea. We feel that the police have been going round a bit more often in Baildon so it's safer, but I am happy to see anything else that might help."

Shipley Anti-Crime Partnership officer Sheila Brett said: "It's a mechanism for bringing local businesses together to find out what their concerns are with a view to working with the police and each other on sorting them out."

She said similar schemes in Bingley and Shipley had proved effective.

The Business Watch scheme will work in conjunction with a Pub Watch initiative which will be launched in the village later this month.