Police in Paignton are starting their annual Christmas anti-shoplifting campaign.
This week they caught someone within 10 minutes of starting a patrol trying to steal £500 worth of items from a shop.
The force are warning patrols will continue.
A spokesperson said: "Throughout the month of December we are running Operation Falkirk which is a Christmas Anti-Shoplifting campaign.
"On 03/12/2019 at 1425, two PCSOs were on foot patrol in Paignton Town Centre.
"Less than 10 minutes into this foot patrol they walked past a shop window and witnessed a male taking items of a shelf and concealing them in a carrier bag.
"The male inside spotted the PCSOs outside and attempted to hide inside the store.
"The officers entered, found the full bag discarded behind a shelf and detained the male and details were exchanged after he admitted he was planning to leave the store without making any attempt to pay.
"Staff inside the store were given their items back where they worked out that the male would have made off with at least £500+ worth of cosmetics and beauty / grooming products if he hadn’t been caught.
"Intel regarding this has been submitted and the entire Paignton Neighbourhood Team are aware of this male for future patrols.
"Op Falkirk continues."
The social media post has attracted a range of comments including: "Well done, it all helps to protect local shops and keep them trading. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime."
Also: "Great news. Thanks for looking after the community. Happy Christmas to you all."
A third added: "Well done, it all helps to protect local shops and keep them trading. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime."