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Hollesley/Manningtree: Prisoner at centre of inquiry after more than £500 stolen from charity shop where he worked

12:44 21 February 2014

Leslie Gall

Leslie Gall

Archant

A Hollesley Bay prisoner who went on the run while working for a charity is at the centre of an investigation after more than £500 was stolen its Manningtree store.

The money went missing from Sue Ryder in High Street, Manningtree, on the same day as armed robber Leslie Gall disappeared after popping out for lunch.

The 53-year-old had been working in the charity shop for nearly a month while on day release from the open prison. Before that Gall had volunteered at its Hadleigh branch and had even talked about applying for a job with the charity on his release from jail.

Gall was recaptured in Edinburgh on Thursday last week, after absconding on February 11.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police confirmed officers are investigating the reported theft of money from the charity.

She said: “Police received a report of theft from the Sue Ryder shop in High Street, Manningtree, on February 11. Over £500 was reported stolen. Officers have a named suspect for the incident and enquiries are continuing.”

The spokeswoman added that no arrests have been made.

Gall had been in prison for 15 years after being given a life sentence at Norwich Crown Court in January 1999.

Gall, formerly of Norwich, held up a Ladbrokes’ bookmakers where he dragged a woman over the counter and held a handgun to her head. He also robbed a newsagent’s at gunpoint.

Gall had previously been convicted of wounding with intent at Barnstaple, Devon, in 1991.

After he went missing Tracey Le Gallez, Sue Ryder Head of Volunteering Development & Engagement said: “We can confirm that Mr Gall turned up for work at 8.45am on Tuesday, but concern was raised when he didn’t return from his lunch break.

“He worked normally that morning, including going out to the local supermarket at around 10am to buy milk and coffee. “Mr Gall had been volunteering in the Manningtree shop since January 16 when he transferred from our Hadleigh shop. He was working very well during his time there and was looking forward to applying for a paid position, which had arisen.

“We are as shocked as everyone on his disappearance.

“For the past six years, Sue Ryder has successfully been running a Prisoner Volunteer Programme working with risk assessed prisoners who are eligible to work out in the community. This partnership with the prison service has helped raise vital funds from our shops to provide care, whilst also supporting the prisoners’ resettlement. “The experience gained by offenders adds to their chances of full time employment on release, which is a major element in reducing the rates of re-offending.”

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