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Need advice on shoplifting

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  • Need advice on shoplifting

    Hi all, I am writing this on behalf of my sister who has been very silly and is worried sick...
    She has been going to her local Co op and switching reduced labels onto full price items. Not only that but she has been going to the self checkout and not scanning nappies or toilet rolls. This has been going on for a few weeks .
    Today she did it and a staff member stopped her and asked to see her receipt. Her son had been messing with it and put it in the bin so she didn't have it.
    The staff member said they have been watching her and its not the first time she's done it, therefore they have evidence. They said they have taken a photo of her car registration and are sending it to the police. She asked what would happen and was told that she wouldn't be able to come to the store again and it's up to the police.
    Can anyone advise what is going to happen to her?
    She is worried the police will turn up at her home, her husband will go berserk. She is making herself ill with worry.
    Any help or advice would be much appreciate.
    Thank you
    Tags: None

  • #2


    • #3
      Morning ( just ) I'll tag des8 to look in for you as I'm not sure how the Police act - ie whether they visit or telephone - did the staff at Co-Op actually ask her any of her details or just do the photograph of her car ? Seems an odd thing to do, they can't just ask the DVLA for her details, and what evidence do they have that it is her car ?

      Anyway, hopefully Des8 will pop in later with some thoughts for your sister.
      Away till 25th May xx

      “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.”
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      • #4
        Thank you for your reply
        No they didn't take any of her details just photographed her car and said the police will be informed....


        • #5


          • #6
            Hi ...sorry for delay but have been out all day.

            The police will eventually contact her, probably call at the house.
            She will then be invited to the police station for an interview, possibly under caution.
            The police will be extremely sympathetic and possibly tell her that all she has to do is tell them what happened.
            they will mention in a throw away manner she can be accompanied (even by a solicitor)

            She should not attend without the accompaniment of a solicitor.
            If she can afford it, her own is preferable, otherwise she should insist on the duty solicitor being present (this is her right and is free)
            She doesn't know how much evidence they have and the solicitor should be able to stop her incriminating herself needlessly.

            You mention nappies, so I assume she has young child(ren).
            Is there any possibility she is suffering from depression (post natal or otherwise) and is taking medication?
            This can cause uncharacteristic behaviour which could lead to her actions.

            Is her family on a low income? (no need to reply but it could be a mitigating circumstance)

            I would certainly advise she confesses to her husband.
            He is almost bound to find out, and the news would be better coming from her.
            Sure he will be upset and angry, but as a husband he should be supporting her in a time of considerable stress and would hopefully soon calm down.

            Also if she is as stressed as you think she should perhaps see her doctor.
            (S)he will have seen and heard it all before, so there will be no need for embarrassment


            • #7
              Thank you for the reply!
              Will they expect her to attend with them there and then if they call at the house ? What if she is in work? Any idea on time scale as she will be on pins waiting.
              Yes she has three children 9,5,2.
              Not on low income or post natal depression, she said she just tried to save a bit of money by not scanning some things and changing labels.
              I was confused as to why the store didn't ask for her name and address but took photos of her car??obviously to send to the police but surely they would have asked for her details? She had her two year old with her could that be why?
              She has never done anything like this before, what will happen to her ?
              Thank you again for your help.


              • #8
                Cannot guess at the timescales as it depends on how busy her local station is!
                She will not have to attend immediately without notice as she must be allowed time to arrange for her solicitor to accompany her.
                Normally interviews are carried out by appointments.

                I too am surprised staff did not request proof of identity and address.
                If she had been driving someone else's car the Co op would have looked stupid as tracing her would become difficult (unless she is well known in the store).

                Regarding penalties it is difficult to guess at with such little information.
                It will depend on the values involved and the number of incidents for which they have proof.
                However if this was first time court and the values involved were small she could easily just end up with a caution.
                Depending on her career (if she is employed or intends to return to employment) a caution could possibly impinge on that, but unlikely.
                If the total amounts are under £200 there is very little likelihood of the incident ending in a court appearance, as below that figure one gets the opportunity of pleading guilty by post.

                Please tell your sister to try and remain calm.
                This was not the crime of the century and for her own sake, for the sake of her children ans even her husband she shouldn't overblow its importance
                I'm sure it is really a very minor aberration, and when it is all over she will need to put it behind her and move on.


                • #9
                  Thank you so much for your reply.
                  She said the items are not over £200 worth.
                  She is so worried about the police turning up. Do they have a time scale as to how long they have to make contact with her?
                  She works in the NHS as a maternity support worker Mainly nights. She has never done anything like this before and has a clean record.
                  She is worried she is going to be arrested. She doesn't have a solicitor, so will they provide one?
                  Thank you again for your help !


                  • #10
                    She will not be a arrested.
                    They will contact her (if the Co-op have actually reported the matter) to arrange a mutually convenient time for the interview.
                    Cannot guess at the timescale
                    If she doesn't have her own solicitor she must at least insist on the duty solicitor being present

                    If she receives a simple caution for theft it should be filtered out in a Standard DBS check so I would not expect it to be disclosed.


                    • #11
                      Thank you so much. I will tell her and hopefully that will reassure her. I think she just wants it all over with.


                      • #12
                        Hi, just an update, police haven't been to my sisters..... Do you think its likely they still will?!


                        • #13
                          Perhaps the Co-op never reported the incident, but said they would just to frighten her into not repeating the action.

                          I would have expected the police to have been in contact by now, but it really is difficult to give a time line.

                          Try and reassure her... it really isn't that terrible an offence and she has punished herself enough already


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