Shop thefts drop in city centre after addicts ban

James was reported missing from the St Thomas area of Portsmouth. Picture: Google Maps

Portsmouth teenager found safe after going missing for three weeks

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SHOPLIFTING rates have plummeted in a city shopping area after five prolific thieves were banned.

Police say none of the culprits – caught stealing from more shops in Portsmouth city centre than anyone else in the last year – has reoffended there since the tough step was taken.

Officers are now working to make sure the offenders don’t carry on committing crimes elsewhere in the city.

Sergeant Rob Sutton from Portsmouth’s City Centre Unit said: ‘What it’s shown is it’s dispersed these people.

‘From our team’s point of view, we have had a reduction in reported incidents to us in the city centre, but we are aware our success could now be the downfall of other retail areas in Portsmouth.’

As reported in The News, the four men and one woman – who have not been named – were handed letters banning them from 118 shop members of the Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership in April. The notices cover Cascades shopping centre, Commercial Road, Southsea, Cosham High Street and some in North End.

Police decided to ban all five – who are known drug users – under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 as they are responsible for at least 79 theft and drug possession crimes in the last year. Now if they enter any area they are banned from and staff have grounds to believe they are going to commit a crime, the police will be called.

They can be given a warning and asked to leave the area – but they can be arrested for aggravated trespass if they refuse.

Sgt Sutton said: ‘It has not been reported to us that they have been reoffending. Since The News article none of them has been reported as re- offending in a PBCRP location.

He added: ‘Working in conjunction with the PBCRP we would like to see a joined up approach as all areas work together. We need more stores to get on board with joining the PBCRP and getting on the radio link system. These people will try it on.’