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Leeds Residents Say Two-Year City Centre Ban for Shoplifting Offence was “Excessive”

A shoplifter was given a two-year ban from entering Leeds city centre, but some residents do not believe the punishment fits the crime.

Andrew Milnes was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment in addition to his two years ban after his appearance in the city’s Magistrate’s Court last week for a charge relating to theft of £1000 worth of items.

Members of the public were confused by the sentencing with many regarding it as an ‘excessive’ strategy to address shoplifting. A student at the Leeds City College said: “Besides city centre he still has a lot of options to shoplift”.  

A musician commented that the ban would limit Milnes’ ability to be rehabilitated into society if he is unable to enter what is considered the ‘social hub’ of the city.

Yorkshire Voice spoke with Adam, manager of Duck Down Gifts, located close to the John Lewis store Milnes targeted. He shared his own experience with being a victim of shop-lifting and petty theft.

Although he did not see the need to call the police in either instance. He said: “It’s a petty crime, not much can be done with the police – so I prefer to deal with it myself,”

He shared that he agreed with the lengthy ban because shoplifting can heavily impact local retail businesses, especially during this time of year.

One shopper shared this perspective and was conflicted about whether Milnes deserved the punishment.

The arrests of Milnes and 24 other offenders since October were as a result of the Christmas Theft Campaign led by the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team in partnership with other agencies.

Increasing police presence, lengthening prison sentences and even having a better Government were mentioned as alternative solutions by Leeds Residents.

What do you think?