SHOPS are being asked to go contactless to tackle the expected rise in robberies over the Christmas period.

North Wales Police's Operation Blue Card will see police step up their efforts to get shops on board with the contactless scheme that officers believe will help to prevent armed robberies which have dramatically increase during the winter months in recent years.

Offenders routinely utilise weapons including knives and machetes to threaten staff with a view of stealing cash from the till.

Shopkeepers are being encouraged to move towards contactless and card payments entirely or during hours of darkness when offences are usually committed, as well as display posters at shop entrances and payment points to highlight that cashless transactions are in place.

Acting detective inspector Dean Jones said: "It is a common misconception that armed robberies are a victimless crime. It is important to understand that this is a devastating and often violent crime that can cause deep distress.

“They are devious and ruthless and need to be stopped. For this reason, we are urging all shopkeepers to go cashless in the run up to Christmas."