A PROLIFIC shoplifter from Malvern has been jailed for four months after he was brought to justice by revolutionary new technology.
Wesley Furber, of Prospect Close, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison after he pleaded guilty to 20 offences between June and September this year in Malvern, Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn.
However the 38-year-old’s persistent shoplifting came to attention by police under a new online web tool called Facewatch which was trailed in Malvern earlier this year.
Facewatch enables businesses and police to tackle low-level crime by sharing images and by submitting digital evidence files to the police to help solve crimes
And this case was the first in Malvern where police and retailers worked together using the tool to both identify offenders and share information to prevent crime.
Images of Furber were posted on Facewatch, in a gallery of people suspected of stealing from retail premises.
And within a short period of time the other retailers on the local group were aware of his activities and the methods and tactics he was using. It also showed the type of clothing he wore.
Shop owners who had not been aware of offences then checked their own CCTV and found Furber in the store and were able to view him taking items from the shelves, concealing them in his backpack before leaving.
PC Paul Lambon of West Mercia Police said: “This is a good result. The overwhelming evidence did not leave the individual with any choice when he got to court but to plead guilty.
“Without a doubt, Facewatch and the support of the local retailers was the greatest factor in bringing this man before the court and achieving the result.
“If any retailer is in two minds as to the effectiveness of the system then they can see, from this case, just how good it is.
“I highly recommend retailers to sign up as soon as possible. Christmas is one of the busiest periods for thieves and using Facewatch should help both deter them and if not, help catch and convict them.”