Business wardens are set to take to the streets of Littlehampton and Eastbourne as part of a pilot crime reduction initiative launched by Sussex Police and The Southern Co-operative.

The wardens – three in Littlehampton and two in Eastbourne – will be able to report crime directly to Sussex Police, gather evidence, and provide crime prevention advice to shops and businesses in the two towns. They will also have access to the Facewatch application, designed to help businesses report crimes and track progress with the police online.

Gareth Lewis, loss prevention and security services manager for The Southern Co-operative, said: “We were early adapters of Facewatch and have found it to be an effective way to share information and report criminal activity.

“Our partnership is rolling the platform out to all willing businesses in Littlehampton and Eastbourne, which we hope will mirror the success we have seen in The Southern Co-operative stores.”

The project, also supported by Eastbourne Business Crime Reduction Partnership, Littlehampton businesses and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, is being funded by the Home Office and The Southern Co-operative until 2017. It is part of a collaborative bid, worth £249,000 over two years, to improve business crime reporting and targeting of criminals across the county.

The pilot is due to run until 2017 and, if successful, the scheme will be extended into other areas across Sussex, with a future rollout planned across the country.

Chris Neilson, business crime lead for Sussex Police, said: “This is vitally important to build up a picture of crime being committed. The wardens will also act as a deterrent for anyone thinking about stealing from these businesses.”