Don't be tempted to steal Christmas presents, says chief constable

FINANCIALLY stretched parents struggling because of the economic crisis are being warned by the county s top police officer not to steal gifts for their children this Christmas, Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence has urge parents not to be tempte

FINANCIALLY stretched parents struggling because of the economic crisis are being warned by the county's top police officer not to steal gifts for their children this Christmas,

Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence has urge parents not to be tempted to shoplift for toys they cannot afford.

In a podcast on the force's website she says: "This year, perhaps more than in many, the pressures of buying presents are greater than ever. Trying to explain to children at Christmas that the present they most wanted won't be arriving is difficult."

She adds: "Under those circumstance some are also tempted to try to get for nothing what would otherwise cost them a lot of money. They try shoplifting.


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"What might start out as an idea to keep a child happy could finish with a criminal record, a substantial financial penalty and the social stigma of being known as a thief."

The economic slump has already resulted in a rise in shoplifting and the Centre for Retail Research expects it to increase by another four to nine per cent as the economy worsens.

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However, Mrs Spence warned that no matter how desperate families are this Christmas, her officers and the courts will take a dim view of stealing.

"No matter how sympathetic some shop-owners may be - or even police officers called to make an arrest - the fact is that a crime has been committed," she said.

"The penalty, quite rightly, is an appearance before the courts and often a heavy fine. Whatever happens it will cost you far more than you actually stole."

INFORMATION: To listen to the podcast in full, visit www.cambs.police.uk

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