Police slammed after taking SEVEN months to prosecute £9.40 cheese shoplifter

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A solicitor has questioned the point in taking SEVEN months to prosecute a shoplifter who stole cheese worth just £9.40.

Stephen Smith, 48, was caught on CCTV stuffing four packs down his trousers before walking out of a shop in South Tyneside in August last year.

Police waited FIVE months before they looked at the footage and another TWO to arrest Smith and bring him before the courts.

Cheesed-off defence lawyer Christopher Brown told magistrates: “I hope the cheese has been returned by now. It is over six months ago now that this offence took place.

“Why has it taken some six months to arrest him, and has the public interest been served in doing so?

“He was open and honest when he made these admissions some six months after the offence took place.”

Smith, of South Shields, admitted the theft from Heron Foods in Hebburn, South Tyneside, on August 16 last year.

South Tyneside magistrates gave him an absolute discharge and ordered him to pay £9.40 compensation to the store.

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