Southend & Clacton: Dedicated officers work to get shoplifter banned from city stores
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Southend officers arrested a shoplifter within ten minutes of being called by shop staff in Westcliff.
Christopher Burke, 39, has now been jailed for a total of eight weeks and issued with a criminal behaviour order banning him from four shops in Southend and Westcliff for three years.
City magistrates were told on 22 September 2023 that Burke, who admitted five counts of theft from a shop over a period of ten days, had committed the offences while out of prison on licence. He had been out of jail for two weeks.
Two Southend Local Policing Team officers had arrested Burke early the previous morning after being called by staff from the BP garage shop in West Street, Westcliff, at around 6.40am.
He had filled a shopping bag with chocolate and tea and walked out without paying. After Burke’s arrest, shop staff told investigating officers from Southend Town Centre Team (TCT) Burke had stolen energy drinks and more chocolate on 11, 13 and 15 September, too.
Further investigations showed that Burke had also stolen items from The Range in Short Street, Southend, on 11 September. On that occasion, a security officer had recovered the goods and Burke had been banned from the store.
Altogether, the value of the items Burke, of Hayes Road, Clacton, stole from the two shops amounted to £468.33. He was ordered to pay £415.90 compensation to them.
The criminal behaviour order prohibits him from entering the BP garage in West Street and The Range in Short Street, as well as the Co-op Food Store in Rochford Road, Southend, and Lothian Meats in North Road, Westcliff.
Operation Raker, which sees a small team within Southend TCT committed to dealing with the city’s most frequent offenders, was launched in Southend this month. Burke is the fourth person to be convicted as a result of their investigations.
PC Alex Plakhtienko, from our Business Crime Team, worked with the Southend TCT to secure this latest conviction.
“Burke has a history of offending and that is why he has been banned from four shops in the district, rather than just the two he was convicted for stealing from this time. “His abuse towards shop staff has had a serious impact on them and the customers in the stores he has targeted. “We want retail staff to feel safe in their working environment and so we use criminal behaviour orders as a means of achieving this. “Through our Open for business, closed for crime campaign, we encourage any member of retail staff to report abuse, harassment and thefts from their stores to us so we can investigate. They can do this online or by ringing 101. “We are also connected to many stores in our cities and towns through the TownLink radio system, which can be used to alert us quickly in an emergency.”
CBOs are designed to tackle the most serious and persistent anti-social individuals where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court.
It is an offence to breach the terms of a CBO and courts can impose a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine, or both, for an adult convicted of breaching them.
Essex Police Business Crime Team
Our Business Crime Team specialises in supporting businesses, working to build relationships with independent shops and retail chains, explaining how they can report crime to us and, just as importantly, what will happen when they do.
They help to identify risks in the workplace, providing crime prevention, fraud and cyber-crime advice and strengthening links with businesses and partners, including local community safety partnerships, Essex Chambers of Commerce and the Essex Federation of Small Businesses.
Working with the National Business Crime Centre, the team share nationally-identified crime trends and best practice with our business community. And they have also developed a comprehensive guide to business crime prevention which identifies steps business-owners can take to protect themselves and their properties.