I had the joy of all joys this morning …. that of dealing with Druggie Dan (as he’s affectionately known) one of Bigtown’s finest examples of an habitual shoplifter ……… again !!
I mean, who on earth goes shoplifting at nine ‘o’clock in the morning – doesn’t he know that Jeremy Kyle will be on soon ???? or maybe it was he’d forgotten to pilfer his personal allocation of Frosty Jacks last night and needed to keep himself topped up before slouching down in front of the nicked 42” plasma for his daily fix of life, the universe, and endless DNA paternity tests, probably featuring a cast from his very own street.
I wittered on a recent post about a shoplifter we picked up at 4.30 in the morning. I mean who does think “I know, it’s early doors, no one will notice me, I’ll get out and do me nicking before it gets busy”. Anyone with half a brain cell could work out that they’d stand a far better chance when they weren’t the only people in the store. Hmmm, maybe I’ve answered my own question there somewhere.
Anyway, back to Druggie Dan. That’s not his real name by the way – we have to change the finer detail ‘to protect the innocent’ or in this case ‘the not so innocent’ so I’m not allowed to tell you he’s really called Druggie Dave. Dan/Dave had really excelled himself this morning – relieving the local Tesco of the extortionate hoard of two Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream tubs. I’d like to say “Well they are expensive items” which they are at over £4.00 a go, but in a brief moment of madness (or sheer genius) Dan/Dave had spotted the ‘buy one get one free’ poster and transposed the word ‘buy’ with the word ‘steal’ …… this was a finer point of detail which didn’t go unnoticed by the subsequent Charging Sergeant in Custody who deemed that we could only charge for the value of the ‘current retail loss to the store allowing for the promotion’ or some rubbish like that.
Another, and more gleaming point of note raised by the said Charging Sergeant, was that this little misdemeanour was in fact the 79th time Dan/Dave had been charged with shoplifting. There were of course many, many more instances when the oik had been hauled in and for one reason or another, we couldn’t get a charge authorised. Note my considered use of the word ‘charged’ in this paragraph which is relatively interchangeable with the word ‘caught’ and bears little to no relation to the word ‘committed’.
Stepping back a short while to the interview prior to charging, Dan/Dave had merrily spilled the beans and rolled out the definition of theft, filling in the necessary blanks for my points to prove before I’d even got the lid off my pen. As Dan/Dave cheerfully pointed out to me en-route to the slammer, “It’s all a game innit PC Chaos. Sometimes I win, sometimes you lot do. But I win a lot more than you so I’m happy”. And it was flipping difficult to argue with that sentiment at the end of the day. It reminded me of the opening titles of Porridge – “Norman Stanley Fletcher… You have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner …..”
Either way, I knew my day was over. There was paperwork to be done. And yet again, there would be a remand file. Fortunately, some bright spark, and I can’t take the credit (but wish I could as it’s a blindingly good idea and ever so helpful to us officers that have to work for a living) has created a folder on our main computer server, with pre filled out file forms for our favourite customers (of which Dan/Dave is one). All we have to do is added the latest debacle to the forms, print a copy out for our needs and remember to save so that the forms are up to date for the next time ….. which is normally the following day, after the court has let them straight back out.
From what I could make out, despite 79 charges for shoplifting, and the odd possession of cannabis and minor assault charges attributed to Dan’/Dave over the last few years, he’s never actually been sent to prison. The only time he’s been locked up overnight is when us big, nasty, evil, human rights abusing police remand him for the next days court.
Thankfully for me however, due to the diligence of the creator of the pro-forma file system (which I must point out was down to a response bobby on restrictive duties after being assaulted and not due to some major investment or effort by our IT department) I was back out on the streets by lunchtime and so took my opportunity to pop back to Tesco to update them on the result of their crime (as we have to you know), and whilst there take the opportunity to get myself a nice meal deal for lunch. Well, that was the plan, until I walked through the front door of the store and the Security Guard rushed over saying “That was quick I only just rang”. My bewildered look must have said it all to him “Got another one for you in the office out the back; just caught him nicking tampons ….”
Somebody give me strength !