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Shoplifter flees store into the arms of police officers

A prolific shoplifter got a nasty surprise when he fled a store and ran into the arms of police officers.

Kirk Wharton was detained by Operation Reacher officers after trying to flee a Co-Op store on 15 August.

A court heard how officers were already at the store, in Mansfield Road, Sherwood, as part of an investigation into a spate of shop thefts.

One of the officers was inside the CCTV office when staff informed her that Wharton, the prime suspect in the case, had just entered the store.

The officer alerted two colleagues who were in an unmarked police outside, before going onto the shop floor to apprehend the 33-year-old.

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Upon seeing the officer, Wharton tried to flee the store but was detained at the entrance by the two other officers, who arrived quickly to apprehend him.


Wharton, of no fixed address, was subsequently charged with 25 shop thefts, totalling approximately £2,250 in value.

Nottingham Crown Court heard the charges relate to a string of thefts committed by Wharton at Co-Op stores in Mansfield Road, Sherwood, and Beckhampton Road, Bestwood, between 18 June and 8 August 2023.

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He was further charged with breaching a Community Rehabilitation order after he missed a string of drug rehabilitation and probation appointments.

Prosecutors said Wharton was a prolific shoplifter who stole products including meat, cheese and fish alongside other fridge items to help fund his drug addiction.

Following his arrest, he was remanded into custody and went on to plead guilty to all 26 counts on the indictment.

He appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday (25 August) and was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison.

PC Phoebe Lau, of the City Centre Operation Reacher team, which carried out the investigation and made the arrest, said: “Wharton is a prolific shoplifter who has persistently shown complete contempt for the law.

“As we often hear in cases of persistent shoplifting, it appears his offending escalated as a direct consequence of his drug addiction.

@westbridgfordwirenews A prolific shoplifter got a nasty surprise when he fled a store and ran into the arms of police officers. . He appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 25 August and was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison. #nottingham #westbridgford #notts #fyp #foryoupage #nottspolice #ukpolice #policeuk #police ♬ original sound – West Bridgford Wire News

“This was why he was placed on a community rehabilitation programme when he was last before the courts. Such schemes are designed to help offenders turn their lives around but, very frustratingly, Wharton refused that support.

“He refused to engage with the drug rehabilitation programme and must now face the consequences.

“He is among a number of persistent shoplifters who have been handed prison sentences in recent months, which is testament of the work we’re doing to tackle retail crime in Nottinghamshire.

“The force is also pursuing criminal behaviour orders, which allow swift and robust action if offenders repeat their behaviour.

“CBOs are used to ban offenders from certain areas and give officers the power of arrest if breached.

“We will continue to make use of such powers and work with stores to catch offenders, as we are fully aware of how damaging shoplifting can be for businesses.”

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