When a would-be thief decks you one, and when the felon is caught on camera and then caught physically by the police, you might rightfully expect a bit of punishment to be meted out. But in the case of Regina versus Daniel Craig Smith, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute Smith for attempting to steal goods from Simon Dixon's Premier Stores Express in Lower Darwen, Lancashire, or for assaulting Simon in the process. Why? Because by then they already had Smith banged up on other charges for which he was serving a custodial sentence. Presumably their statistics were satisfied.
In a letter to Simon, the Senior Crown Prosecutor explained the above and added: "I appreciate you may be disappointed with this outcome."
Simon responded rather eloquently to this, saying: "I would firstly like to thank you for keeping me informed of the outcome and I would say that you were right to anticipate my disappointment."
He added: "I've found that most of the hundreds of assaults and thefts that I've had to endure over my 25 years in this business have been from people who have pending convictions for other serious offences. These offenders have a 'couldn't care less' attitude because they know they're going to receive a custodial sentence, so they continue their crime sprees because they think it won't make any difference. I would now tend to agree with them!
"This case prompted me to write because the offender had a previous conviction for assault and theft against me. When such incidents occur I always take a lot of time to prepare a CCTV package to assist the police. Shop theft should not be seen as a low priority offence because, if left unpunished, it will most certainly lead on to more serious crimes."
Hear, hear.