THE owner of a small independent Hull store has criticised police for failing to deal with a shoplifter – despite catching the thief on CCTV.
10 APRIL 2016 | BY Hull Daily Mail FOR Hull Daily Mail
Christopher Bricklebank reported the theft of an £80 phone from Strand Appliances in Beverley Road to Humberside Police.
But he says he was initially given a crime number and simply told not to "let the offender back into his store", despite having clear CCTV footage of the theft, which happened on Monday.
It was only after Mr Bricklebank complained that an officer arranged to visit his store to view the footage – but this will not happen until April 16, 12 days after the theft.
He said: “A man came into the store and asked to look at a game console.
“I went away to look for a battery charger and he took a mobile phone from the cabinet worth £80.
“I reported it and told the police I had clear CCTV footage.
“But I was told it was their policy not to do anything unless there is repeat offending.
“They just gave me a crime number and advised me to ban the man from the shop.”
Mr Bricklebank says small businesses suffer more when targeted by thieves.
He said: “I am struggling and run the business by myself, so this is a big deal for me.
“It’s all right for the big retailers who can cope with some shop thefts.
“It was only when I rang to complain that they finally agreed to meet me, but that won’t be until April 16.
“I was shocked by the attitude of the police, they didn’t seem interested.
“It isn’t adequate to wait until nine days later to see me [after the phone call].
“I have previously been burgled three times and they have never caught anyone.”
But Humberside Police insist they need to prioritise cases and have issued advice to retailers as part of Operation Sodium.
Humberside Police Superintendent David Houchin said the force had to “balance” reports of shop theft against other crimes.
“I am sorry to hear of Mr Bricklebank’s concerns and any incident of shop theft is clearly one too many,” he said.
“That said, I have to balance our response to shop theft against competing demands of a wide range of other crime types and risk.
“Businesses should report shop theft. However, it is not an effective use of our resources to deploy an officer to investigate every incident.
“Instead, we have reinvested our effort into delivering long-term and sustainable crime reduction.
“This approach requires a joint response between the police and retailers with clear emphasis on early intervention, disruption and prevention.”