The land that law FORGOT: Business owners don't even bother reporting thefts to police as carefree crooks stroll out of Sainsbury's with fillet steak and booze on crime-ridden island that's a shoplifter's paradise after its only police station shut down

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:10 min(s) read

  • EXCLUSIVE:  17,000 islanders live in fear as yobs run riot after police station shut
  • Hayling Island businesses say shoplifters have the upper hand due to lac of cops

An island off the south coast of England is the land justice forgot, businesses claim, after crooks deliberately started targeting it because it takes police so long to reach.

In yet another damning shame on Lawless Britain, the 17,000 people there are living in fear of criminal yobs running riot free from any consequences.

Hayling Island, which is between Portsmouth and Chichester, no longer has a police station, meaning officers are only on hand if they are already there.

In the past year alone it has been blighted by 1,306 different crimes, figures that have been steadily rising since January.

The nearest police station is in Havant, over 30 minutes’ drive in traffic from the furthest point on the island.

Police crime data show a number of shoplifting incidents targeting the same stores again and again over the past year.

Local residents and businesses confirmed they were suffering from ‘prolific’ serial shoplifters, speeding cars and anti-social behaviour.

The problem is so bad at the island’s Sainsbury’s store it is being hit by one repeat offender – who constantly steals steaks – and workers complain the police will not arrest him.

Sweety Patel, 38, Khushi Patel, 13, Arab Patel, 9, and Hiten Patel, 39, in Hayling Plus Post Office

Sweety Patel, 38, Khushi Patel, 13, Arab Patel, 9, and Hiten Patel, 39, in Hayling Plus Post Office

This unusual theft on the island saw two men sneak into a yard and begin stealing oil

This unusual theft on the island saw two men sneak into a yard and begin stealing oil 

CCTV released by disgruntled families over the past year show them turning to social media to try and catch crooks

CCTV released by disgruntled families over the past year show them turning to social media to try and catch crooks

Hayley Island resident Ashley Pollicott, 45, who has warned of serial shoplifters acting freely

Hayley Island resident Ashley Pollicott, 45, who has warned of serial shoplifters acting freely

The trip from the nearest police station, which is on the mainland, can take as long as 30 mins

The trip from the nearest police station, which is on the mainland, can take as long as 30 mins

Others say they have never seen a patrol car in the town and described it as a ‘mud flat full of alcoholics’.

Cheers as members of the public step in to catch ‘watch thief’ by pinning him to a chair outside John Lewis in Sloane Square – amid growing fury over police failure to investigate petty crime

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Sign maker Ashley Pollicott, 45, said: ‘There’s loads of shop-lifting. They come in and steal things.’ 

He said the Sainsbury’s store is regularly hit by a ‘ginger bloke that lives down there’. 

Mr Pollicott added: ‘They are just prolific. ‘It doesn’t really help that the ex-drug addicts live here.

‘People just walk out of the shops all the time. It’s not the fact they are doing it – it’s what they are taking. I saw one man walk out with three fillet steaks under his arm.

‘We see the police car drive around every so often. It’s a mud flat full of alcoholics.’

Another local added: ‘You see the police cars about as often as you see taxis in Hayling Island – there are no taxis here on a Friday night.’

Sam Gibbs, 20, works part time at the Sainsbury’s and said there are two shoplifters that are ‘just prolific’.

The college student said: ‘The police come in sometimes and speak to us but have never arrested anyone.

‘I think it’s because of a lack of resources. It’s quite petty crime to put in jail.

This police station in Havant is the nearest to Hayling Island and its 17,000 residents and businesses

This police station in Havant is the nearest to Hayling Island and its 17,000 residents and businesses

The island's Sainsbury's store it is being hit by one repeat offender - who constantly steals steaks

The island’s Sainsbury’s store it is being hit by one repeat offender – who constantly steals steaks

‘We had an issue a couple of weeks ago with a drunken customer and police were actually here in 10 to 20 minutes, but it’s a lack of action.

‘I think the police won’t arrest until they do something big enough to prosecute them but that just hasn’t happened.’

Hiten and Sweety Patel work in a Post Office in the town having moved in three months ago.

The couple said they now don’t even bother reporting thefts to the police.

Mr Patel, 39, said: ‘First week, we moved in, we had boys coming in and shoplifting. We didn’t report it.’

Mrs Patel, 38, added: ‘People complain about shoplifting everywhere. We hear it everywhere.

‘Most of the people are good here, but there are a few others.’

McColls is near one of the furthest points of the island and has been hit by criminals in a series of raids

McColls is near one of the furthest points of the island and has been hit by criminals in a series of raids

This man is suspected of being behind a theft from a pub on Hayling Island according to the poster

This man is suspected of being behind a theft from a pub on Hayling Island according to the poster

Mr Patel said there is a lack of police presence and criminals know there is ‘only one road coming in and out’.

A year on ‘Crime Island’: 12 months in figures on Hayling 

AUGUST 2022: 155

SEPTEMBER 2022: 107

OCTOBER 2022: 88

NOVEMBER 2022: 119

DECEMBER 2022: 95

JANUARY 2023: 88

FEBRUARY 2023: 88

MARCH 2023: 109

APRIL 2023: 101

MAY 2023: 113

JUNE 2023: 111

JULY 2023: 114

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The couple have two children, Khushi Patel, 13, and Arab Patel, 9. Danny, 66, and Dee, 35, owned J and K Supermarket, a convenience store in the town, for 35 years but have recently sold it.

The father and son, who did not want to give their surname, said there used to be a stronger police presence, and they would like to see that again.

Danny said: ‘We used to have a local policeman called H and he has moved into a different area. 

‘He is probably the only one that goes into shops and speaks to us.’

Dee added: ‘To be honest when we had H he would come in here and have a chit-chat. Then all the locals would come in and have a chat as well.’

Danny said they did not have too much trouble when running their shop as people knew them.

‘The kids do shoplift. There were two or three girls that shoplifted so we told them that we would put their pictures on the local Facebook group and we never saw them again.’

Danny said although they did not have serious problems, he worries about how the lack of police presence will affect the new owners.

He said: ‘The lot who just took over, they will need the help.’     

McColls is near one of the furthest points of the island and has been hit by criminals in a series of raids.

Vince Richards started working in the shop four weeks ago and admitted: ‘I don’t think I have seen a police car since I started working here.

Once they had got their liquid haul they quickly scarpered, but were caught on CCTV

Once they had got their liquid haul they quickly scarpered, but were caught on CCTV

‘There was a police report of an incident where a shoplifter walked out with four crates of beer.’

Another local, Sammy Cable, witnessed someone shoplift just a few days ago.

The 49 year old housekeeper said: ‘I was in Tesco Express two nights ago and there were these large women and I did see them put a bottle of juice in their bag.

‘And, I have noticed the last couple of nights there are cars speeding up and down the roads.

‘Very occasionally I see the community police but not really.’

Mrs Cable has lived in Hayling island for 15 years and said: ‘I think it’s worse this time of year as we get all sorts of people.’

Another local resident – who asked to remain anonymous – said she saw a guy ‘reach down and take two bottles of whisky’ in Sainsbury’s.

She added: ‘I have seen it three or four times. I love the police though, I have got nothing against them.’

The situation on Hayling Island comes amid growing frustration across the UK at a perception of police not helping with so-called low level crime.

This man was caught on CCTV on Hayling Island casing a bike left in a garage near to homes

This man was caught on CCTV on Hayling Island casing a bike left in a garage near to homes

The brazen crook operated in broad daylight and did not appear to be worried about the police

The brazen crook operated in broad daylight and did not appear to be worried about the police

MailOnline reported yesterday how shoppers were forced to step in and catch a suspected ‘watch thief’ themselves.

Shocking video footage in London’s upmarket Sloane Square showed the moment the have-a-go heroes caught the man, who was believed to have snatched a timepiece from the arm of a passerby.

But there was no sign of any police until the suspect had been already held by the public-spirited passersby. And by the time an officer was finally seen lumbering over to the ‘crime scene’, onlookers let out a sarcastic cheer as he was led away. 

It is the latest shame in a growing number of incidents up and down the country, where police failure to crack down on crime has seen retail chiefs accusing them of allowing lawlessness to thrive.

Confidence in the force – after a series of devastating scandals – is also at a huge low, with London’s Met bearing the brunt of criticism after criminals were exposed in its own ranks like Wayne Couzens, the killer of Sarah Everard. 

This incident happened in April 2020 and saw suspected thieves at a caravan looking for spoils

This incident happened in April 2020 and saw suspected thieves at a caravan looking for spoils

The men are thought to have taken items from the mobile homes before running away

The men are thought to have taken items from the mobile homes before running away

On Monday, ASDA chairman Lord Stuart Rose said theft had effectively been ‘decriminalised’ due to a lack of police action. It was a devastating intervention, given a report just last year had already urged officers to do more to win back public trust.

Chief Inspector Habib Rahman, the District Commander for the Havant district, defended the force and how it tackled crime on the island.

Chf Insp Rahman said: ‘We have officers based on Hayling Island, with our local Neighbourhood Policing Team being based out of the library, where they are focused on providing exceptional local policing for their community every day.

‘This is core to our new force structure which is empowering our officers to relentlessly pursue criminals, putting victims at the heart of what we do and tackling those local issues which our communities really care about.

‘We have also introduced Neighbourhood Enforcement Teams, who are able to act fast on the information and intelligence coming in from our communities to target hotspots and catch those who are committing crime.

‘These changes have been brought in to not only create safer communities, but so that people living and working there feel safer, so I want to reassure the island that we are working hard to ensure the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is a hostile place for criminals.

‘In relation to response times, we respond to calls based on the information given to us at the time and work within a national grading system to ensure the prioritisation of resources is proportionate with the urgency of the call.’




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