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    Essex Police crack down on shoplifters

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    Essex Police last week arrested 24 people on suspicion of shoplifting and secured 67 charges of shop theft, the force stated today (20), adding that there have been total of 706 arrests for shop theft in the past six months.

    Two people were also charged with assaulting of retail workers. Another was jailed for a total of 52 weeks breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order (CBO) which banned him from entering a variety of stores across Southend and Westcliff.

    At Southend Magistrates’ Court last week, James Butcher admitted 12 counts of shop theft between Feb 27 and March 12 and breaching the CBO on ten occasions. It was imposed on March 1 2023.

    Three people were arrested in each of the Basildon, Chelmsford and Southend districts- two in each of the Braintree, Brentwood, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow and Tendring districts; and one in each of the Rochford and Thurrock districts. One person was arrested for offences out of the county.

    PC Alex Plakhtienko, of our specialist Business Crime Team, says that the Essex Police work to divert people from stealing from shops.

    Plakhtienko said, “As well as seeking CBOs at court, we also test everyone arrested for shop theft and other acquisitive crimes for cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin, under our drug test on arrest scheme. Four people tested positive last week.

    “People often steal to fund drug or alcohol addiction. If we can break the cycle, we can break the offending habit, too. By requiring them to attend assessments with treatment services, we are giving them a chance to turn their lives around. “We want to ensure that high streets and shopping areas across Essex are safe places to work and visit.”

    Of the 24 people arrested last week, 19 have been charged and cases involving four others are still being investigated.

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