A thief has stolen a life-size cardboard cut-out of a policeman that was intended to deter shoplifters at a supermarket.
Police say the cardboard cut-out replica of PC Bob Molloy had been doing a great job of deterring shoplifters in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
The cheeky thief paid for his groceries at the Co-op store and then waltzed off with the life-size PC Molloy tucked under his arm.
But Derbyshire Police may yet have the last laugh – as the theft was captured by CCTV cameras and they are confident of making an arrest.
Thefts had fallen from 36 per month to just one since PC Molloy’s 2D presence was introduced two years ago, and police believe the theft may be an act of revenge.
The cut-out – featuring PC Molloy with arms folded and in full uniform, including helmet and fluorescent jacket – cost £100 to produce. It has been rotated between stores across Belper and Long Eaton.
(mh’s note: I fear rotating the cut out may not have been effective as I doubt it’s painted at the back.)
Heralding its effectiveness last week, Inspector Graham Lamin, of Belper police, said: “We have seen a real drop in shoplifting reports.
“The cut-out acts as a deterrent and frees up my officers to deal with more serious crimes.”
The real PC Molloy, who spends his days on patrol, said: “At a glance, the cut-outs look very realistic.
“Just the other day someone told me they had said hello to me in a store, but I never replied to them.”
Insp Andy Picken said: “We were using the cut-out as a way of engaging more with the local community, so it is a bit disappointing.
“We are pursuing lines of inquiry and hope to have some good news soon.”
(Mh’s note ; this is obviously categorised as copycat theft)
Life-size police cut-out stolen (10th August 2007)
Two teenage girls were arrested on suspicion of stealing a life-size cardboard cut-out of a Surrey town’s local policing team.
The 6ft-tall (1.8m) figure was taken from the Co-op store, in Green Lane, Farncombe, on Tuesday night.
The cut-out of Pc Jim Lavery and PCSO Nicole Pearce is still missing.
A 15-year-old Godalming girl is due in court on Thursday charged with theft. A 14-year-old from Farncombe was bailed to attend a police intervention clinic.
Leaflet boxes for the local community were attached to the cardboard cut-out.
It’s a short step to tucking a real policeman under your arm and waltzing off with him. It all started when we went to parties where people passed cardboard and scissors around…..