Police Constable Bethan Evans-Jones has been working to reduce shoplifting in Surrey, including working with one prolific individual who was recently convicted of 24 counts of theft from a forecourt store.
It all began last summer when Evans-Jones investigated a series of repeated thefts that targeted a petrol station in the borough of Epsom & Ewell. She began to visit the forecourt as part of her regular patrol route and developed strong relationships with the staff, to ensure she would be directly alerted to any incidents while in the area.
She was subsequently able to intercept and arrest the offender as he attempted to steal alcohol. Thanks to the evidence she gathered during her investigation, he was convicted of 24 counts of theft at a local magistrates’ court. He was given a Community Protection Warning prohibiting him from entering any local businesses without the means to pay. He is also required to undertake drug rehabilitation and to pay compensation for his offences.
Evans-Jones said: “I’m pleased to have been able to support staff at the local petrol station, who have the right to feel safe in their place of work.
“It is also important to me that the offender is supported to break out of the cycle of crime he had fallen into and receive the help he needs. He is well known within the community, and despite the crimes he committed, the shop staff spoke kindly of him – so it was important to all of us that he receive help.
“I referred him to local partner agencies, and he was able to get help from a charity that supports those with drug addictions and was also assigned a social support worker. He recognised that these were the first steps to ‘getting better’ and we believe that this will be an important step to prevent him from re-offending.”
West Surrey intelligence manager, Inspector Alan Knight, said: “By tackling the core issue of the matter and diverting offenders from the vicious circle of reoffending to fund an addiction, Bethan has not only supported her community by preventing future criminality but is inspiring neighbourhoods that feel safe. I hope that the results in this case will provide reassurance to victims of crime that we are focused on pursuing those responsible.
“Bethan’s work has shown that working with communities and victims of crime promotes the partnership sharing of intelligence and information which is so vital when combating all levels of criminality.”