Assurance to public following criminal damage in Sidmouth

Sidmouth Police Station in Woolcombe Lane

Sidmouth Police Station in Woolcombe Lane - Credit: Archant

Thousands of pounds worth of criminal damage in Sidmouth has prompted calls to tackle low-level crime in the town.

PC Steve Lee spoke at a town council meeting on Monday (October 7) to reassure people that officers were doing what they could, as he reported crime had fallen by nearly 39 per cent in September.

Councillor Denise Bickley asked a question on behalf of The Dairy Shop's John Hammond after the shop had its window smashed on October 1.

The owner returned to his shop to find the window smashed and blood at the scene and urged for something to be done following a recent spell of similar events.

Cllr Bickley said at the meeting: "Blood was clearly left at the scene with broken glass, and he wants to know why there is no interest in obtaining any evidence of that. Is the chance of prosecution so low there is no point?

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"Surely, this low-level criminal damage needs to be concentrated on to stop it progressing to worse damage. What message is the police sending out if it's ignored?"

PC Lee said scene-of-crime officers' policy was not to go to crime scenes unless there was an 'overwhelming or compelling' reason to go.

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Councillors heard a suspect had been identified and interviewed in relation to the incident at The Dairy Shop, but there is no further action at this time.

The officer said: "I agree it does possibly put out quite a poor message. I firmly believe we should hammer every little crime because, if you stop all the little ones, you stop the bigger ones taking place.

"We are not ignoring it - we do do what we can. We have limited resources. It's a rather poor apology, I'm afraid."

In the police's monthly crime figures, PC Lee said 35 crimes were recorded last month in comparison with 57 offences for September the previous year, a decrease of 38.7 per cent.

Police dealt with eight incidents of violence without injury, seven cases of criminal damage, five public order offences and four reports of violence with injury.

The remaining incidents included burglary of dwellings, vehicle offences and shoplifting.

Altogether 117 incidents were recorded, down from 132 in the same period in 2018 - an 11.4 per cent decrease. The detection rate was 23 per cent.

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