Secret operation snares three prolific Doncaster shoplifters

An operation to target prolific shoplifters at a Doncaster shop resulted in three swift arrests in the space of three hours with all three pleading guilty to shoplifting offences.
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Chelsea Rose, aged 31, and Gemma Mitchell, aged 29, are now behind bars after admitting thefts at a One Stop in Balby and a Sainsbury's store in Doncaster city centre last month.

Rose, of Milton Court, Hyde Park, was seen by officers hiding three boxes of biscuits and 13 jars of coffee in plastic bags on Monday (30 October) before leaving the One Stop store. She was accompanied by Mitchell who was wanted for a theft offence which took place two weeks earlier on 16 October at Sainsbury's.

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On that occasion, Mitchell, of East View, Bawtry, managed to stash £100 worth of items into two carrier bags before leaving without paying. She was arrested alongside Rose and both were later charged with theft and failing to provide a drug sample.

James Cawkwell was caught on CCTV stealing from One Stop (left) before plain-clothed officers arrested him (right).James Cawkwell was caught on CCTV stealing from One Stop (left) before plain-clothed officers arrested him (right).
James Cawkwell was caught on CCTV stealing from One Stop (left) before plain-clothed officers arrested him (right).

The following day, they appeared before Doncaster Magistrates' Court and both were sent to prison, with Rose given a nine-week sentence and Mitchell jailed for four weeks.

As part of the same operation at the One Stop store on 30 October, James Cawkwell was arrested after he was caught on CCTV stuffing chocolate bars into his pocket.

Cawkwell, aged 41, of Rosegreave, Barnsley, went to the till with different items and made an attempt to pay. However, when his card declined, he left the store where he was arrested by two plain-clothed officers.

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He was charged with that theft and a separate shoplifting offence which took place at the same store the day before (29 October). He appeared before Doncaster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (31 October) and pleaded guilty to both offences.

He has been remanded into custody and will appear before the same court on 5 December for sentencing.

The operation to target shoplifters took months of planning and was coordinated with One Stop after a spree of thefts affecting their business.

It involved one officer viewing CCTV inside the store who would alert plain-clothed officers waiting in cars outside who would then arrest the suspects.

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It was headed up by Doncaster Response Team Constable Liam Fowkes, with support from the retail crime team who have made great strides in securing charges against suspected and known shoplifters in the city.

PC Fowkes said: "We know shoplifting is a scourge on our communities. It’s a crime we will not tolerate and we have operations in hand to proactively seek out thieves and stop them in their tracks as shown by the three convictions secured following an operation at One Stop in Balby.

“We want shoplifters to know that we are watching them and we are onto them. We could be in the store at any time watching and I hope this operation acts as a clear deterrent to anyone trying to steal from local businesses trying to earn an honest living.

“Shoplifting is not a victimless offence and each day we are gathering more and more intelligence on prolific offenders. We want our communities and businesses to know that we will continue to protect business from harm and bring shoplifters to justice."