Security guards who waited SIX HOURS for police after catching two teenage shoplifters had to let them go - even though one girl's father wanted her arrested

  • Staff at Beales department store in Bournemouth, Dorset, had to let two girls go
  • The teenagers, aged 16 and 17, were caught stealing £58 of make-up from shop
  • Police were too busy to attend and told staff to call the teenagers' parents  

Shop security staff who waited six hours for police to arrive and arrest two teenage shoplifters had to let them go - to the fury of one of the girls' own parents.

Staff at Beales department store in Bournemouth, Dorset, caught the pair stealing £58 of make-up but when they called the police, officers were too busy to attend.

They were instead told to call the 16 and 17-year-old girls' parents - who couldn't get to the shop until 8pm.

When one of their fathers arrived he said he had wanted his daughter arrested, but police decided to 'take no action'.

Security at Beales department store in Bournemouth (pictured is the CEO Tony Brown) had to let two teenage shoplifters go after they waited six hours for police to arrive and were told to call the girls' parents instead

Security at Beales department store in Bournemouth (pictured is the CEO Tony Brown) had to let two teenage shoplifters go after they waited six hours for police to arrive and were told to call the girls' parents instead

Tony Brown, CEO of the Bournemouth store said it is the latest in a spate of incidents where his staff have had to let shoplifters go free because police did not turn up.

He also spoke at his frustration at having to let persistent shoplifters go free because of a lack of police.

The business man said his staff often have to act as guardians when a juvenile is caught and give them food and drink because they are with them for so long.

In the case of the teenagers, they were caught at 2.15pm but couldn't be collected until 8pm, leaving the store to handle them for six hours.

He said: 'Last weekend a 16-year-old and 17-year-old girl were caught and we called the police straight away, but they said they were dealing with other issues.

'The least they should do is send someone from another force or a social worker to come out and look after the juveniles.

The teenagers were looked after by two staff members before they could be picked up (file picture of Beales)

The teenagers were looked after by two staff members before they could be picked up (file picture of Beales)

'We contacted their parents but they were away so they couldn't get here until 8pm.

'We kept the two girls our security room and two members of staff were taken off the shop floor to look after them. We made sure they were well looked after.

'I feel there is a moral obligation for us to call the police in the first instance but if they take too long to then call their parents.

'We have to make sure juveniles are safe when we release them. In this case they were decent parents and I think they expected the police to deal with their children.

'I have sympathy for police when they are dealing with major incidents but I pay my business rates and do expect some form of support, especially for big thefts.'   

He added that a couple of months ago his staff had to release a 16-year-old boy who had stolen £150 of goods after holding him for six hours because police didn't turn up - despite him also having class A and B drugs in his possession.

He said: 'We held him for six hours but the police then called to say we should let him go and release him into his guardian's care.

'He had drug paraphernalia on him and he could have been involved in county lines drugs.'

Mr Brown said: 'I have sympathy for police when they are dealing with major incidents but I pay my business rates and do expect some form of support, especially for big thefts'

Mr Brown said: 'I have sympathy for police when they are dealing with major incidents but I pay my business rates and do expect some form of support, especially for big thefts'

The store has also dealt with other recent incidents including a woman who had previously made off with six Radley handbags worth £750 who was caught with six purses and a handbag totalling £498.

Police were called at 3.15pm but the shoplifter was let go at 8pm - almost five hours later - because they had again not turned up.

In another theft, a man and woman attempted to make off with fragrances worth £150. Police were called at 5.15pm but did not come to the scene and the pair were let go at 7.55pm. 

Mr Brown said: 'As we enter the busy Christmas period, we can't carry on with thieves just being able to walk away after stealing hundreds of pounds of product.

'This is a real crime, it's not penny sweets from Woolworths.' 

Dorset Police said they were 'committed' to attending incidents where alleged offenders have been detained at location 'where possible'.

Police Superintendent Gavin Duffield said: 'We are committed to investigating all reported offences of shoplifting and where possible we will attend incidents where alleged offenders have been detained at location.

'Two of the incidents mentioned occurred during the past week where officers in Bournemouth town centre have been heavily committed with other incidents of a serious nature, including a rape investigation and murder enquiry.'

In 2018, a £200 threshold was introduced as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014) meaning anyone accused of 'low value shoplifting' no longer has to attend court.

They can plead guilty by post in the same way as a speeding motorist.

Security guards who waited SIX HOURS for police after catching teen shoplifters had to let them go

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