Police sting nets callous criminals

TWO women have been sentenced after an ongoing police sting operation caught them stealing cash from society’s “most vulnerable”.

Police in Skegness had set up CCTV cameras at several homes in the area after reports of young women entering the homes of vulnerable adults and gaining their trust before stealing their cash.

And Arlene Hawksford (also known as Dolan) from Grosvenor Road, is one of two unwitting crooks who have so far fallen for the police’s trap.

Skegness Magistrates’ Court recently fined her £105 and sentenced her to a community order and drug rehabilitation after she admitted stealing from a 48-year-old man in Ellis Court.

Hawksford’s sentence comes after a covert CCTV camera inside the Ellis Court property captured Hawksford stealing the money from the occupant on March 14.

She was spotted covering loose money with items of confectionery and then lifting the cash along with the sweets or crisps before leaving.

Another woman, Joanne Duke (34), also from Grosvenor Road, has already been sentenced to five years in custody in connection to the same police sting operation and other offences.

Detective Constable Lee St Quinton, from Skegness CID, said, “These females preyed on some of the most vulnerable members of the community, gaining their trust under the guise of friendship and then abusing that trust by stealing from them on a regular basis.

“Operation Plicata was set up to catch those responsible and bring them to justice and also to provide the victims with support and assistance.

“For obvious reasons, we cannot reveal details of all the techniques used in this operation but this result sends a clear message to offenders that we have a range of tactics at our disposal and we will use all or any of them to protect the vulnerable from abuse and crime”.

Operation Plicata’ was launched in Skegness last year in response to allegations that a group of females were entering the homes of vulnerable adults, gaining their trust and then stealing their cash.

A range of covert techniques, including hidden cameras and recording equipment, were deployed within several addresses in the town and surrounding area and police attention focused on suspected offenders. Two women are currently on remand awaiting trial in connection with the continuing CCTV sting operation.