Bungling Hitchin thief sparks anger with police

A CONFERENCE centre manager has called for tougher police action after an accident-prone thief was let off with a caution. Thierry Viatge, general manager at The Priory in Hitchin, is angry that no further action will be taken against an 18-year-old who

A CONFERENCE centre manager has called for tougher police action after an accident-prone thief was let off with a caution.

Thierry Viatge, general manager at The Priory in Hitchin, is angry that no further action will be taken against an 18-year-old who with an accomplice tried to make off with a bucket of beer after sneaking into the building in the early hours of Friday morning.

Mr Viatge explained: "We think they came in through the front door and made their way to the bar, picked up a large plexi-glass bucket and filled it with beer. They then ran through the exit door. One of them ran right, towards the street, and the other one ran left - straight into a fence, which collapsed on top of him, smashing the bucket. The night porter picked him up but he ran off again straight into a bollard and hit himself in the nether regions. The porter said he could either keep on injuring himself or he could sit on him until the police came. We then took him to reception where he was bleeding.

"The police came and took the culprit to Lister to be treated for cuts as a result of falling whilst running away.


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"We then received a call to let us know that the culprit had been interviewed and released with a caution - without giving us the option to press charges for damage or to pay for the alcohol he had stolen.

"No wonder we have such a high crime level - a slap on the wrist and free to do another crime. The law is simple - you commit a crime, if caught, you suffer the consequences."

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A Herts Police spokesman said by reporting an offence a victim is in effect pressing charges and the decision on how to deal with an offender is then down to the police.

"The decision to give a caution is not taken lightly and many factors have to be taken into account, such as the nature of the offence, the offender's previous convictions and their admission to the offence," he said. "In this case the use of a caution was considered to be the best outcome. He was genuinely sorry for his behaviour and is of previous good character. However the caution will remain on his criminal record and will influence any future police decision to prosecute or not.

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