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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 20 August, 2018
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Children as young as 12 and pensioners in their 70s shoplifting in Dublin stores

Many shoplifters during the festive period are first-time offenders, according to gardaí who police Dublin’s city centre.

Image: shoplifting image via Shutterstock

GARDAÍ WORKING AROUND one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets have said shoplifters during the festive season come from all backgrounds and age groups, and many are first-time offenders.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Garda Inspector Tony Kelly, who is based in Store Street garda station, said they deal with “a huge volume of shoplifting, especially this time of the year”.

“A high percentage of the prisoners we would have in here would be shoplifters.”

“They are all sorts, all ages – children, as young as 12 or 14, right up to senior citizens in their 70s,” Kelly said. “They’re taking all different types of items – makeup, jewellery, cosmetics and food, which speaks volumes itself.”

Detection figures have not increased during the festive period as the large crowds make it easier for opportunistic thieves, but stores in the Henry Street area have been reporting significantly higher stock losses in recent weeks.

Though there are a lot of repeat offenders, Kelly said many would be first-time offenders.

A lot of it would be under the adult caution scheme, where first time offenders are entitled to an adult caution.

Under this scheme, a person will be cautioned but will not have a criminal record.

“The aim is to try to keep people away from the criminal justice system. It works really, really well,” Kelly said.

People are given chance, it’s not a recorded conviction so if you’re looking for your J1 visas as a student or there was garda vetting in your job it won’t show. But if you commit a second offence, it can be given in evidence and you will be prosecuted and brought to court.

“If it is their first offence, normally they’re quite upset and embarrassed,” he added. “It’s very obvious early on that these people are suitable for it, to the point that you think there would be nothing gained by bringing these people through the criminal justice system.”

Read: ‘It can cost lives’: Garda concern about counterfeit toys at Christmas markets>

Read: Prolific 86-year-old jewel thief nabbed again after her latest robbery>

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