Police inspector welcomes sentencing approach

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Hastings police commander, chief inspector Paul Phelps has welcomed a sentencing approach for prolific shoplifters that he hopes will help break their cycle of offending.

Ch inspector Phelps spoke after serial thief Johnny Wheatley was given an eight-week suspended prison sentence for stealing, combined with an order to go on a drug rehabilitation course, a 12-month supervision order, being tagged and given a 28 day curfew. The sentence was imposed on the 35-year-old at Brighton Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. Chief inspector Phelps said: “This was an excellent outcome so far as the police are concerned. Every time someone is arrested it costs around £1,600 and all too often offenders are put before the courts, fined and released. They then simply go out and offend again. This combined sentence means that not only does the offender risk prison and is subject to tight controls within the community, but he is also being given a chance to kick the drugs habit that often leads to stealing in the first place. I hope we will see magistrates taking a similar line in other such cases so that serial offending can be dealt with effectively.”