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Revealed: the locations worst-hit by shoplifting in Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 December 2019

The highest volume of calls to police came from businesses in Canary Wharf. Picture: Dan McCurry

The highest volume of calls to police came from businesses in Canary Wharf. Picture: Dan McCurry

Dan McCurry

Less than a fifth of shoplifting crimes in Tower Hamlets are being solved by police too stretched to work on “lower level” offences.

From January 2017 to this September, businesses in the borough called police 2,032 times about people trying to steal their wares.

Of these 2,475 reports or - 81 per cent - have been closed with no suspect identified, are still under investigation or have not been updated since the original crime report.

In that time just 51 thieves or would-be thieves have been sent to prison. Another 32 were handed suspended sentences and 27 were slapped with community sentences.

A Met Police spokeswoman said: "The Met is under various pressures including financial challenges and increasing demand.

The roads surrounding Spitalfields Market reported dozens of shoplifting incidents in two years. Picture: Ken MearsThe roads surrounding Spitalfields Market reported dozens of shoplifting incidents in two years. Picture: Ken Mears

"As a result we are having to take decisions about how we prioritise our resources.

"Homicide, kidnap, sexual offences or domestic violence continue to be fully investigated.

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"But lower-level, higher-volume offences such as shoplifting will have the policy applied to them to decide what level of investigation is appropriate."

The largest number of reported offences - 640 in total - took place in Canary Wharf.

Some 215 crimes were reported on or near the North Colonnade alone and 26 people were sent to prison as a result.

The other worst-hit wards were Spitalfields and Banglatown with 457 crime reports, St Peter's with 262, and Bethnal Green with 211.

According to police data, there have been 769 reported thefts from supermarkets, 212 in shopping centres and 221 on or around secondary schools and colleges.

The next worst-hit road in the whole of Tower Hamlets for shoplifting was Brushfield Street by Spitalfields Market, where 75 shoplifting offences have been reported in two years.

Another 62 incidents were reported from Merceron Street next to the Sainsbury's in Bethnal Green, and 51 in Jerome Street in Spitalfields.

The Tesco petrol station and superstore in Bromley-by-Bow also appear to have been recurrent targets, with 51 incidents recorded on or near Jerome Street.


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