Bognor retailers speak out over crime

Katy Bourne
Katy Bourne

Thieves have been walking into Bognor Regis businesses with catalogues marked up with what they were going to steal, it has been revealed.

This was just one example of the ‘rife’, ‘incidious’ and ‘daily’ anti-social behaviour and crime happening in the town which was given to Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne at Monday’s meeting of electors.

Roger Lewis of Squires also told how he managed to get one prolific thief to court on the third time of trying where, despite being told he had 132 previous convictions, his sentence was deferred as he ‘was making a new start’.

Something he said was later proved to have not happened: “I mentioned it to a police officer when I was giving a statement at a later date about another incident that I hadn’t seen the individual in a while and their response was ‘you won’t, he’s inside’.”

Another incident, Mr Lewis said, involved a violent assault on himself and his son which he was asked if he’d consider a community order being given as punishment.

Katy Bourne replied: “That is disappointing to hear.”

She added: “Some people would consider it low impact [crime] but I don’t.

“Theft and shoplifting does matter, you employ people and without a strong economy towns like Bognor won’t survive.

“You are right about shoplifting, it is usually a small number of people that cause the most harm – it is frustrating for police officers as well.”

Paul Wells from Unique likened it to ‘ping pong down the highstreet’: “You hear it on the radios, we say so and so is in town and he is doing this.

“I photographed him selling stolen goods from the bench outside Sports Direct the other day.”

Katy asked: “What do the police do?” To which the packed public gallery responded as one: “Nothing!”

However, speaking from the gallery Mark Marsh said: “If you call a police officer a muppet you’ll have three arrive in no time.” Asked how he knew, he replied simply: “It was me, I was arrested.”

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