AN habitual shoplifter has been banned from a shopping centre.
Jacqueline Hedley has been given a Criminal Antisocial Behaviour Order (Crasbo) that stops her setting foot in Seaham’s Byron Place.
Now officers will be able to arrest her if she sets foot in the centre and the courts could jail her for up to a maximum of five years.
The Crasbo, the first to be served by police in Seaham, comes on the back of criminal convictions.
Earlier this year Hedley, 41, from Ropery Walk in the town, admitted a series of thefts from the centre’s stores.
On February 29, she took five joints of meat worth £71 from Asda, returning on March 10 to take two bottles of shower gel worth £3 from Home Bargains.
She also took deodorant to the value of £21 from Tesco, in the town, on March 6.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court sentenced her to six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with supervision and also ordered her to pay £85 in costs and £3 in compensation.
It follows on from a history of thefts at the centre, which led to the initial barring notice served by its management.
The Crasbo will run until April 30, 2014.
As a result of her recent crimes, the authorities are offering Hedley support in a bid to stop her offending.
The case for the Crasbo was put together by Police Community Support Officer Carole Hutton, from Seaham Neighbourhood Policing Team, with the backing of the Safe Durham Partnership and the centre’s shops.
PCSO Hutton said: “When people shoplift, it puts the prices up and times are hard enough as it is.
“Shoplifting in Seaham Harbour will not be tolerated on any level.
“Other members of Seaham Neighbourhood Policing Team and myself work very closely with the shops in the town centre, including Byron Place and Asda, and have a very good relationship with the local businesses.
“With an ever-expanding Shopwatch scheme, both the police and businesses will endeavour to reduce the shopliftings and ensure it remains a low-crime town.”
She added other Crasbos will be issued should other thieves persist with their offending.
Posters detailing Hedley’s order have gone up in Byron Place.
A CRASBO is a civil order set up to protect the public from antisocial behaviour, but different from an Asbo because it is put in place in the wake of a criminal conviction.
Asbos are made as a result of behaviour which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress.
As part of their set up, the conditions of Crasbos must reflect the behaviour involved in the crime in question.
Crasbos can be obtained a lot quicker than Asbos, though they will not be heard in court until the conclusion of the criminal case on which they are based.
They are designed to encourage communities to become actively involved in reporting crime and antisocial behaviour.
The orders are not criminal penalties, which means they do not appear on a suspect’s criminal record, but to breach them is a criminal offence.