A POLICE Community Support Officer has appeared in court accused of shoplifting.
Lee Wright was charged with theft after hundreds of pounds worth of items were allegedly taken from Sports Direct and GAME in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, earlier this month.
The 24-year-old, who is understood to be part of the city centre patrol team, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to two charges.
The first charge relates to items allegedly stolen from Sports Direct on August 3.
Wright is accused of taking £331.92 of goods from the shop.
He is also accused of stealing items worth £74.97 at the nearby GAME store on the same day.
Wright has been suspended from his job while the court proceedings take place, as well as an internal investigation by Hampshire police is carried out.
A statement from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘A Portsmouth-based Police Community Support Officer has been charged with shoplifting.
‘Lee Wright, 24, who is from Portsmouth, has been bailed to appear before magistrates.
‘Mr Wright has been suspended from duty pending the court proceedings and a disciplinary investigation by the constabulary’s Professional Standards Department.’
Wright is understood to have been with the police for a number of years and has been involved in several community schemes, including handing out child-safe wristbands at Cascades Shopping Centre and Gunwharf Quays in a bid to stop youngsters getting lost and not being able to find their parents.
Wright, of St Mark’s Road, Stamshaw, was given conditional bail when he appeared before magistrates.
The terms of his bail are not to enter Sports Direct or GAME to prevent interference with witnesses.
He will appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court at 10am on Thursday, August 29.
The maximum penalty for theft from a shop is seven years imprisonment.