One of the most disturbing and upsetting headlines I have seen in any newspaper in many a year read: Shoplifters ‘can’t afford to buy food.’
The article contained details of how shoplifting in Rotherham has doubled. No doubt this goes for all regions in South Yorkshire.
Among common items stolen were alcohol, electrical and toiletry items, not what you might think to be essential life-sustaining items.
It would seem someone is trying to justify the crime of shoplifting.
Many, but not all, shoplifters are well-to-do people who commit this crime for pure kicks or financial gain. In this country there is no justification for anyone to commit this crime by saying they can’t afford food.
We all live in a welfare state, sometimes unfortunately, which was put in place to keep people out of poverty. Many shoplifters are stealing to fund drug, tobacco and drink habits, many are getting benefits for not working.
I am sure we have all been in a queue in the chemists when some young hooligan has gone straight to the front of the queue to be given his or her free dose of methadone.
Anyone in this country who can’t look after themselves has many agencies that can help, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Salvation Army are just two of the excellent organisations that do much good work.
We have many elderly people who have worked all their lives and paid their dues and demands, only to find it is a struggle to manage on pensions, yet these people don’t go out and steal from shops, steal lead from church roofs and take copper cable.
Shoplifting is serious crime that costs all honest people a lot of money indirectly. The answer is to punish any shoplifter so severely.
It’s time for the press stop condoning their actions, with such misleading headlines.
Mick Glynn, Hatfield Town councillor, Doncaster Road, Hatfield, DN7