On 19th November 2013 Andrew Clark, a 25 year old PCSO was ‘fined £386’ for shoplifting from Sainsburys. The total haul ‘included a chicken madras curry, two protein drinks and sandwich wraps,‘ (which seems fairly good value).
The Oxford Mail, despite having a very short report has actually got the details right – he was ‘fined £265, ordered to pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £26 and compensation to the supermarket of £10.17.‘ (if you don’t know what the victim surcharge is, and why it was set at £26, have a look here). The fact that Sainsburys got a compensation order would suggest that the food and drink couldn’t be re-sold, but we don’t have any real details of what happened (of why Mr Clark did what he did).
The magistrates would have looked at the Sentencing Guidelines for Theft. Looking at page 17, it is the lowest level of seriousness. Mr Clark is, presumably (as a PCSO) of good character, and pleaded guilty. We have a factsheet about how fines are set and, looking at that, the fine is pretty much what we would expect.
Of course, the consequences for Mr Clark are catastrophic. They go far beyond the hit to his wallet. He was suspended from duty when he was arrested and now will lose his job (offences of dishonesty are frowned upon for obvious reasons). With a conviction for a dishonesty offence, he will find it harder to find work.
All in all, a very expensive curry for Mr Clark.