Seven prolific shoplifters blamed for a massive surge in crime in Swadlincote after they were released from prison at the same time can now be named and shamed - following months of painstaking police work.
Officers changed their shifts in a bid to arrest Leon Tilt, Jordan Burgess, Daniel Singleton, Christopher Knight, Rebecca Portsmouth, Matthew Kendall and Michael Kavanagh after they embarked on a shoplifting spree across Swadlincote town centre in a short time period, leading to a 56 per cent spike in crime figures.
South Derbyshire’s safer neighbourhood Sergeant Graham Summers said his team worked together and moved their shifts around in order to track down the seven people who stole thousands of pounds worth of items from town centre shops.
He also said larger shops were not doing enough to prevent themselves from becoming victims of shoplifters, as they continue to display expensive items by shop doorways – leaving them easy targets.
The Burton Mail can today reveal their crimes:
Leon Tilt , 31, of Midland Road, Swadlincote.
Admitted stealing two bottles of vodka worth £28.38 from Aldi, Swadlincote, on May 10; driving a silver Mercedes in Midland Road, Swadlincote, otherwise than in accordance with a licence and without insurance on May 12; admitted stealing a quantity of cheese worth £15 from Sainsbury’s, Newhall, on June 15; and admitted breaching a suspended sentence order.
Tilt has been jailed for 32 weeks and banned from driving for 12 months.
He was ordered to pay a total of £43.38 compensation and a £115 victim surcharge.
Christopher Knight , 26, of no fixed address.
Admitted theft from Tesco Express, on March 19; theft from Sainsbury’s, Burton Road; two thefts from Tesco Express, Woodville; theft from a shop in Willington; theft from Tesco Express, Swadlincote; theft from Go Local, in Derby, and theft from Uttoxeter Road service station, in Derby; all on May 29. He also admitted theft from Asda service station, in Woodville, and criminal damage, in Woodville, both on June 7. In relation to the criminal damage charge Knight was being chased by police and climbed onto a single storey garage, in Swadlincote Road, Woodville. He was then seen stamping on the roof, which eventually gave way and he fell through, breaking two teeth, and was subsequently arrested.
He has been jailed for 18 weeks.
Matthew Kendall , 32, no fixed address, admitted stealing detergent worth £20 from Poundworld, Swadlincote, on June 14; stealing meat from Sainsbury’s, Newhall, on June 6; stealing meat worth £60 from Sainsbury’s, Midway, on June 5; stealing cleaning products worth £52 from Asda, Woodville, on June 4; stealing meat worth £41.60 from Sainsbury’s, Midway, on May 30; stealing laundry detergent worth £16 from Tesco, Church Gresley, on May 20; stealing meat worth £25 from Sainsbury’s, Midway, on May 18; stealing meat worth £31 from Sainsbury’s, Midway, on May 15; stealing meat worth £54 from Sainsbury’s, Newhall on May 8; and stealing 12 steaks worth £36 from Iceland, Swadlincote, on April 25.
He has been jailed for 18 weeks and made the subject of a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order with requirements that he must not 1) enter Pipeworks retail park other than a pharmacy/chemist for the purposes of collecting medication or if employed at one of the premises. 2) Enter any Sainsbury’s supermarket/shop which are located on Glamorgan Way, Church Gresley, Civic Way, Swadlincote, High Street, Newhall or Burton Road, Midway. 3) Enter any Tesco store located in High Street Woodville, Hearthcote Road, Swadlincote or Common Road, Church Gresley. 4) Enter Asda Service Station, in Burton Road, Woodville.
He was ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.
Jordan Burgess , 37, of Midland Road, Swadlincote, admitted stealing six cans of Lynx body spray worth £18 from Asda, Woodville; coffee and alcohol worth £15, from Tesco Express, Church Gresley, both on June 14. He also admitted breaching a suspended sentence.
He has been jailed for nine weeks and ordered to pay £33 compensation.
Daniel Singleton , 23, of Midland Road, Swadlincote, admitted stealing six Ambi-Pure air fresheners worth £29.94 from B&M Bargains, Swadlincote, on May 18; and wilfully obstructing a police officer in the execution of her duty, in Newhall, on June 1.
He was ordered to pay £29.94 compensation, £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Rebecca Portsmouth , 34, of Midland Road, Swadlincote, admitted stealing cleaning products worth £35 from B&M, Swadlincote, on February 8.
She was made the order of a 12 month conditional discharge, and was also ordered to pay £35 compensation, £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Michael Kavanagh , 36, Oversetts Road, Newhall, admitted damaging the main front doors at St Mary’s wharf police station, Derby, on April 14; possession of large kitchen knife in Oversetts Road, Newhall, on April 26; stealing a pack of razor blades worth £22.99 from Superdrug, Swadlincote, on March 30; stealing coffee and steak worth £19 from Tesco, High Street, Swadlincote, on April 24; stealing six L’Oreal face creams worth £181.92 from Boots, Swadlincote, on May 22; stealing gammon worth £18 from B&M Store, Swadlincote, on May 22; and stealing L’Oreal and Olay products worth £483.82 from Boots, Swadlincote, on May 24.
He was due to be sentenced on August 8 and was due to appear at court on August 8 but did not attend and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Sergeant Graham Summers said his team worked tirelessly for months to ensure the culprits were caught - but is still asking that shops do not leave expensive items on display by the doorways.
He said: "We have spoken to several shops. The problem they have is their standard design across the country is to have their promotions at the front of the shop so that they are seen by customers when they walk in. They are not doing themselves any favours as they are easy to steal. We have spoken to shops but not one has given us assistance.
"When a crime is committed, the police are then duty bound to investigate.
"(The seven shoplifters’ crimes) were mainly over a month period. It just took the entire team’s resources to do it, and we are not a shoplifting ‘squad’.
"When that happens and you have to concentrate your efforts on shoplifting, there is a knock-on effect and community policing doesn’t get the full attention. The police are thinly spread and far better deployed to address community issues effectively, instead of having officers tied up, painstakingly trawling through shop CCTV and taking statements.
"The criminals all get out (of prison), want to change their ways after drug rehabilitation but it doesn’t take long for them to start taking drugs again.
"However, usually their offending is staggered because they get out of prison at different times.
"With some, it really does take work logistically to get them arrested because obviously they don’t want to be found. The team really did work together. Some even changed their shifts."
Sergeant Summers revealed the South Derbyshire Safer Neighbourhood Team had put together a revised protocol to put some of the investigative responsibility back on these retailers by asking them to move expensive items from the doorways but he says it has been unsuccessful.