Essex Police has scrapped a scheme that saw cardboard cut-outs of police officers used to help cut crime after thieves targeted the figures.


Instead of deterring would-be thieves, the 20 cardboard coppers dotted around petrol forecourts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Essex had the opposite effect and became victims of crime themselves.


Several of the effigies went missing from their posts and, in November last year, a man was convicted of stealing one from a Co-op in Clacton.


An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “The trial of the cardboard police officers showed they had very little impact on crime or antisocial behaviour and we will not be continuing with their use.


“It was an idea worth trying and we would always consider innovative schemes in our efforts to reduce crime.”