Early-morning raid at Hull home as police make Operation Lilly arrest
POLICE cracking down on prolific shoplifters made their first arrest in an early-morning raid.
Officers arrested a man suspected of stealing £1,000 of power tools at his home in 21st Avenue, north Hull.
The 46-year-old man's arrest is the first in Operation Lilly, which has been launched to tackle a rise in shoplifting in the East Riding.
Detective Sergeant Mark Ormiston, who is leading the operation, said: "I didn't come into the police to persecute ten-year-olds stealing sweets from the shop.
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"The people we are targeting are different – they are making a living out of this.
"While everybody else is working hard, they are out stealing.
"It goes against the grain to call them professionals, because they are simply thieves, but they are certainly more organised ones than drug addicts stealing to fund their habits."
As part of yesterday's raid, five police officers and a PCSO left Cottingham police station at 8.30am after a briefing by DS Ormiston.
They were hunting one of two men suspected of stealing nine Dewalt drills and one Bosch drill from B&Q in Goole on July 25.
Above the letterbox at the address in 21st Avenue was a sticker that said: "Shoplifters will be prosecuted."
At 8.50am, a man was led out of the house in handcuffs and taken to Priory Road police station.
Police then searched the property and a flat the man was also believed to use above a shop in Greenwood Avenue.
No stolen goods were recovered from either property.
Police have appealed to Mail readers to catch the second suspect, releasing a CCTV image from the store.
Officers will be releasing CCTV pictures of suspected thieves every week, with the first batch published in yesterday's Mail.
DS Ormiston said: "There will be plenty more arrests like this to come.
"I am really interested in the people we don't know yet being identified by the public.
"Our ultimate aim of the operation is to catch these people, hopefully recover some stolen property, and bring shoplifters to justice.
"It will also send a message out that shoplifting is a crime we take seriously and we will catch them."
DS Ormiston is also warning the public to avoid buying anything that could be stolen, which could be fuelling the increase in shop theft.
He said: "In times of austerity, there are people who will shoplift more and there are also people who love a bargain.
"In one of the cases, someone has stolen 11 bottles of champagne worth more than £300. If someone is selling a £30 bottle of champagne for £10, there are a lot of people who will think that is a good deal."
A 46-year-old will appear at Beverley Magistrates' Court today charged with theft.