CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Chief Constable warns stretched parents not to steal Christmas gifts for kids

FINANCIALLY stretched parents struggling because of the economic crisis are being warned not to steal gifts for their children this Christmas. Cambridgeshire s Chief Constable Julie Spence has used her latest podcast to urge parents not to be tempted to s

FINANCIALLY stretched parents struggling because of the economic crisis are being warned not to steal gifts for their children this Christmas.

Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable Julie Spence has used her latest podcast to urge parents not to be tempted to shoplift for toys they cannot afford.

In the 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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Spence adds: "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 said to have resulted in a rise in shoplifting. The UK is said to be one of the worst states hit in Europe and the Centre for Retail Research expects shoplifting to increase by four to nine per cent as the economy worsens.

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That coupled with a rise in unemployment is said to be tempting people in to a life of crime.

But, Spence warns no matter how desperate families are this Christmas police and courts will take a dim view of stealing.

She said: "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. 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.

"So please don't be pressured into stealing. Nothing can be worth that final sacrifice."

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

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