Eighteen suspected shoplifters charged with 52 offences
Main article content
Eighteen people have been charged with 52 shoplifting offences in the past week as our crackdown on theft from retailers continues.
There were four individuals arrested in Harlow, three detained in Thurrock and Basildon, and two in each of Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend.
One man was charged with 15 shoplifting offences in Epping Forest, and 11 of the charges relate to thefts in Harlow, where one man has been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).
Two other people were arrested and subsequently released on bail, and an offender in Basildon was issued a caution.
Five of those arrested in the last seven days tested positive for Class A drugs.
Under our drug test on arrest scheme, adults accused of acquisitive crimes such as shoplifting are required to take a saliva test that will reveal whether they’ve taken cocaine, heroin or crack.
A positive test leads to an automatic referral to a specialist drug treatment programme with one of the three charities we work with.
The team then work with local officers to apply to court for CBOs to tackle persistent offenders.
CBOs also tackle the underlying causes of offending and may require offenders to engage in treatment services, such as drug and alcohol addiction support.
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 a breach. A man arrested in Rochford this week was breaching the terms of his CBO.
Sergeant Christian Denning of the Business Crime Team said:
“We want retail staff to report theft, anti-social behaviour and assaults as it gives us evidence of patterns of offending. The number of charges we have brought against individuals in the last seven days shows how seriously we take this issue.
“We want our high streets to be safe for visitors and shop workers which is why we are targeting the individuals responsible for repeated thefts by applying for criminal behaviour orders and limiting their ability to reoffend.
“Our officers are also working with businesses by providing specialist crime prevention advice and information about staff security.
“The proceeds of shoplifting feed into a bigger network of criminality, and people with drug issues may turn to stealing to fund their addiction so by getting them onto a treatment programme, we are helping to change their behaviour and tackling the cause of their offending.”