CAMBERLEY Town Centre's successful Safe Child Scheme is being extended to Watchmoor Park with the help of Sainsbury's and Marco the Clown.

Surrey Heath's youth affairs officer, PC Julian Crabbe, has encouraged Sainsbury's to help spread the safe child message, which is to quickly reunite lost children with their parents and carers whilst in shopping areas.

The scheme was devised in Shrewsbury by a police officer following the murder of toddler Jamie Bulger, and was launched across the UK. The scheme was set up in Camberley town centre eight years ago, and re-launched in March 2002, with the support of Main Square Shopping Centre staff, Surrey Police and Surrey Heath Council. This gave the scheme a boost and ensured that new staff working in the town centre were fully trained and up to date with current practices and procedures.

To date staff from around 30 stores in Main Square have been trained on the procedures needed to ensure that the scheme works efficiently and effectively. Staff at Watchmoor Park have now been trained, and although Safe Child will run independently, it is an important addition to the scheme.

Each store participating in the scheme receives a licence for 12 months, following which there is a review to see if further training is needed. Stores not continuing have their licences revoked and are not entitled to display the distinctive Safe Child holding hands logo which acts as a guide to lost children.

Coco the clown helped launch the Scheme at Sainsbury's in Watchmoor Park on Saturday, May 3. Children visiting Sainsbury's with their parents learned about the scheme and were entertained by Coco. The Mayor of Surrey Heath was also on hand to see the fun and assist with the launch.

PC Crabbe said: "I am glad that Sainsbury's is joining us in the scheme. It is increasing in its popularity across the country and the NSPCC has just taken the Safe Child reins because it believes in the scheme's worth.

"But as far as I am concerned it is encouraging to all those visiting the borough and it will promote Surrey Heath as a safe and happy place in which to shop."