Prolific burglar, 44, caught breaking into M&S to steal steak and prosecco is the first to be jailed by private prosecution after the Met refuse to investigate

By Eirian Jane Prosser    Published: 07 May 2024

Robber David Hanson had 105 previous convictions including 33 burglaries

A prolific burglar who broke into a M&S store to steal £500 of sirloin and T-bone steak as well as 20 bottles of prosecco, has become the first person to be jailed in a private prosecution.

David Hanson, 44, who had 105 previous convictions including 33 burglaries, was caught in the act and arrested by two detectives from a private policing company.

The store manager from M&S in Streatham Hill had called police immediately after catching Hanson stealing on CCTV but despite the footage, the Met Police decided not to investigate.

Instead, the case was taken on my TM Eye – a private investigator company which was founded by former Scotland Yard chief detective David McKelvey.

The firm, which uses plain clothed officers and those in uniform, has already helped prosecute 280 shoplifters. However, the south London case marks the first time a prosecution has been made against a burglar.

It led to Hanson being jailed for a year for a total of five offences. These included four burglaries and one assault on an M&S employee,

Mr McKelvey told the paper: ‘He was wearing the same clothing as worn during the burglary.

‘He was detained and immediately admitted the recent burglary and an earlier burglary at the same premises some days before which was also written off by police.

‘The lesson is that every burglary deserves an investigation because there is always an opportunity to solve the case if you take the time to do the basics.’

Police bosses decided in October that officers would attend shoplifting incidents if violence was made against employees, a suspected burglar was detained or cops were needed to help gather evidence.

But many police forces said the plan was not realistic, explaining officers cannot attend every shoplifting incident.

Hanson’s sentencing comes as shoplifting rose to the highest level on record in April.

A total of 430,104 offences were recorded by police in the year to December 2023, up by more than a third (37%) from 315,040 in the previous 12 months.

Retail bosses accused ministers of allowing shoplifting to become effectively decriminalised, with many police forces failing to attend the majority of reports and failing to gather any evidence when they do.

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