Thieves offered police cautions

MORE than a dozen thieves and light-fingered employees have avoided prosecution after stealing goods worth hundreds of pounds, it emerged today.

MORE than a dozen thieves and light-fingered employees have avoided prosecution after stealing goods worth hundreds of pounds, it emerged today.

Suffolk police said the shoplifters and pilferers, who stole money or items valued at between �100 and �600, were offered cautions after being caught in the Ipswich area.

The figures were revealed after a Freedom of Information request by The Evening Star.

Among the items the thieves tried to steal were a �249 TV from M&S in Ipswich, electrical goods worth �319 from Debenhams and sunglasses valued at �205 from the same store.

One worker was caught after crediting �300 to a payment card from their store's terminal, while another stole cash on a number of occasions from his employer's till.

Asda in Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, detained thieves taking goods worth �276 on January 22, and two wheelchairs valued at �500 on March 31.

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Tesco at Copdock Interchange also caught offenders stealing a �180 games console on February 5.

Last month The Evening Star reported how two 40-year-old women who stole goods worth more than �500 from Sainsbury's at Warren Heath near Ipswich, were given police cautions.

The total value of the goods and cash for which offenders received cautions between December 8 last year and April 10 this year was �3,079.

Suffolk Constabulary said it was allowed to use discretionary powers for those who fall foul of the law.

Police spokeswoman Kate Rutsch said: “A decision to issue a caution will be based on any number of aggravating or mitigating factors.

“These can include whether the suspect has any previous convictions or cautions, whether the property was recovered, and if they fully admit the offences. This decision will be taken in line with the Director of Public Prosecutions' guidance on charging and has to be approved by a police officer that is of sergeant rank or above.”

A British Retail Consortium spokesman, said: “Stealing from shops is wrong regardless of the value. The punishment should be appropriate to the crime. Theft is not a victimless crime.”

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