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Police duo nab thief who hid stolen purse in biscuit aisle
WHEN it comes to cracking crime, police officers Bill Tweedie and Lucy Fawcett have proved that they really take the biscuit.
The two constables were alerted after a 91-year-old Basingstoke pensioner was targeted by a thief who stole her purse from her handbag as she walked to a local Tesco Express store.
A description of the thief was circulated and within minutes, Pcs Tweedie and Fawcett had spotted Stefan Williams acting suspiciously in the Premier shop, in Abbey Road, Popley, Basingstoke.
Prosecutor Kerry Richardson told Aldershot Magistrates' Court: “When spotted by the police, he was seen to act furtively in the custard cream aisle.
“He was seen to take a packet of biscuits and went to pay. One of the police officers went to the custard cream aisle, and there was the purse.”
Williams was subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft, and the purse was later identified by the victim.
The court heard that 24-year-old Williams committed the crime on August 31 just weeks after his release from prison in May where he had been serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for robbery.
He appeared at the court hearing via a video link from Winchester Prison, after he was remanded in custody. Williams, of Abbey Road, Popley, initially argued that he had found the purse on the pavement, but subsequently pleaded guilty to theft, and was appearing for sentence.
Kevin Hennessy, defending, said the theft was done “on the spur of the moment”. He added: “From the outset, he's been deeply ashamed of this offence.”
Presiding magistrate Paul Bryson jailed Williams for 12 weeks, and said an immediate prison sentence was appropriate in the interests of justice and to serve the local community.
Addressing Williams, he said: “This was effectively someone's grandmother or great-grandmother you stole from, and I hope you bear that in mind.”
Speaking after the case, Chief Inspector Steve Wallace, district commander for Basingstoke and Deane, praised the actions of the officers, who spotted Williams and found the purse among the custard creams.
He said: “It was a really good piece of police work, and given that the culprit pleaded guilty and was sentenced a week later is good news all round.”