Fenland police apologise for not being able to pin all 30 burglaries on two offenders but assure residents conditional cautions not as lenient as some might think

PUBLISHED: 15:34 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 22 April 2019

Burglary victim in Chatteris posted this photo to Policing Fenland Facebook with the message

Burglary victim in Chatteris posted this photo to Policing Fenland Facebook with the message " this is one of them blatantly riding my bike around we have two witnesses to this, has it been recovered?". Picture; POLICING FENLAND

Archant

A police sergeant admitted that his team simply couldn't gather enough evidence to prosecute two offenders they suspect had committed at least 30 burglaries and crimes in recent weeks in Chatteris and Doddington.

But in a frank post to the Policing Fenland Facebook page the officer said the conditional cautions given to two men, both aged 20, were not as lenient as some might think.

“It's a little bit more than a stern telling off,” he said. “Although we believe them to be responsible for all of the crimes, evidentially we have to be able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they committed it.

“We were only able to link them to some of the offences to the required burden of proof.”

He said: “As such the sentence has to reflect this. Believe me when I say it was not through any lack of trying.

“I dedicated my whole team to resolve this issue. The justice system is very defined and for offences of theft first time adult offenders must be given an opportunity to correct their ways.

“As such they will be subject to a series of educational and restorative processes. Plus I was able to recoup the loss to a small number of the victims.”

The officer added: “Although I cannot talk for the courts it is likely that even if I had have been able to put them in front of the courts then the sentence would have been similar.

“If however they do not comply with the conditions then they will be arrested and put before the courts. I'm most definitely keeping an eye on them.”

Both men must

* Attend an assessment and follow up sessions to help them understand how their behaviour has affected others and help them change it, diverting them from further criminality

* Attend an assessment regarding the suitability to engage in restorative justice with the victims

* Together pay a total of £400 in compensation to the victims of the crimes they have been linked to

A police spokesman said: “Failure to comply with any of these conditions will result in their arrest and charge.

“Since the arrests of the two men there have not been any further reports of non-dwelling burglaries in the Chatteris and Doddington areas.”

Quizzed about why it took so long to catch them, the police sergeant said: “All crimes are reviewed and investigative opportunities followed up.

“My team changed their duty times and we spent every working hour in Chatteris early on in the investigation using a combination of vehicle, cycle and foot patrols, in uniform and non uniform patrols.

“As soon as we had gathered sufficient evidence (CCTV) we were able to identify the suspects and prevent it from happening. We are now day 15 shed burglary free.”

Residents were quick to praise the police response with one telling them: “thank goodness, a good job well done”.

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