Police tell Essex shopkeeper to remove wanted poster because it breaches shoplifter's rights

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
A shopkeeper was told his wanted poster of a thief breached the suspect’s human rights (Rex/stock photo)

A shopkeeper has been forced to take down wanted posters of a thief who stole a £250 tablet from his store – because it breached the suspect’s rights.

James Callaghan, who owns a printing shop in Colchester, Essex, knocked up 100 posters using CCTV images of the thief, according to The Sun.

The posters were put up inside his store and others were handed out to local businesses – but he was soon paid a visit by police, who ordered him to take them down.

James, 30, told the paper: ‘The footage we had was crystal clear so I thought I’m going to let the other shops know.

The theft took place at a printing shop in Colchester, Essex (Google)

‘The community officers came in and told me, ‘you can’t print posters like that because of data protection’. I could not believe what we were being told.

‘It’s complete nonsense… so many businesses have been targeted by criminals recently yet we are made to feel like we are in the wrong.’

Essex Police are thought to have later admitted their advice was “misguided” as the data laws apply only to images in their possession.

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The force reportedly admitted their advice was ‘misguided’, but added: “We understand that business owners may wish to pursue their own investigation, especially where their livelihood is affected, but would like to make it clear that only the police have the authority to fully investigate, solve, and prosecute those responsible for crime.’

The thief later tried to sell the tablet to a pawn shop two days after the crime but it was later returned to James.

No arrest has so far been made.