Traders angry at shoplift cautions
TOWN centre traders are furious that a team of shoplifters, caught in the area last week, have been cautioned.
Eagle-eyed customers and shopkeepers tipped off police to a family of shoplifters who swept through nine town stores in an afternoon.
Officers were guided to a Stroud High Street store by a shopkeeper who had been alerted by a customer. As the trio, who had two children with them, left Shaws haberdashery they were arrested.
Later 140 items worth a total of £850 were found in bags in a vehicle. The women, from Ennis in Ireland, were given formal cautions.
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But some traders felt the punishment didn't match the crime.
"I don't understand why the crime was not taken more seriously," said Clare Gerbrands of the Made in Stroud shop in Kendrick Street. "It's very disappointing."
Although the three, aged 18, 31, and 39, didn't take anything she thinks they visited the shop.
Simon Vincent of Trading Post record shop said: "It's an absolute disgrace the system allows people who have committed 140 offences to be let off with a caution. What confidence can Stroud shopkeepers have in the justice system?"
Six High Street shops, and one each in Lansdown, Kendrick Street, and King Street fell victim to the family, who told officers they were on holiday in Gloucester.
In each shop, including three charity shops, they concealed items and left without paying lastThursday. The stolen items were recovered following the arrests.
Fiona Mills-Carlyon, owner of Moonflower, said she was alerted to the shoplifters by a customer who told her the Oxfam shop in King Street had been targeted.
"I called the police and they went to Shaws," she said. "The police kept me on the phone and three officers came down the High Street and caught them at Shaws."
She later discovered items had been taken from her clothing and accessories boutique too.
Shop assistants in Shaws said nothing was taken from their store but they later found items which they believed to have been stolen from other shops, hidden in its displays.
Also found were nutcrackers and scissors which they believe may have been used to remove price and security tags. Staff at Oxfam confirmed an unspecified amount of toiletries were taken.
The stolen property consisted of clothing, toiletries, jewellery, shoes, clothing, DVDs and stationary, and police are in the process of returning the items to the shops.
Gloucestershire Constabulary said it can issue a formal caution to offenders if they admit the offence and agree to be cautioned, and these are usually given if the offender has not been in trouble before.