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Prolific shoplifter jailed after stealing from Gatwick Airport store

A prolific shoplifter has been jailed for beaching his Criminal Behaviour Order at Gatwick Airport.

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About 2.50am on Friday 12 November, police received a report of a theft at Marks and Spencer, in the North Terminal.

A man had entered the store, which was closed to customers, through a small gap in the shutters. The gap was being used by staff and maintenance workers to carry out refurbishments.

They challenged the man and asked him to leave. As he did so, he grabbed two bottles of rum worth £16.99 each and ran from the store.

He was chased and detained, and identified as Darren Pullen, 52, unemployed, of no fixed address.

The two bottles he stole were recovered, one of which had already been opened and partially consumed.

Enquiries revealed Pullen was subject to a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order imposed by Horsham Magistrates’ Court 24 July due to a history of similar offences.

This prohibits him from entering any premises displaying a Crawley or Gatwick Shopwatch sticker, and entering Gatwick Airport unless as a passenger with proof of a valid ticket.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary and breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order, and remanded in custody to appear before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 12 November.

He pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to a total of 12 weeks’ imprisonment, and ordered to pay £16.99 compensation.

PC Jonny Walker, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“Pullen has been a thorn in the side of the retail community at Gatwick Airport for several months, and we built a case for the Crown Prosecution Service to consider a Criminal Behaviour Order due to his numerous offences of shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.

“Unfortunately, he has shown a blatant disregard for the order, which is why he now faces a number of weeks in prison.

“We hope this sentence serves as a reminder that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated at Gatwick Airport – or anywhere else in Sussex for that matter.

“This is a great example of partnership working between Sussex Police, Gatwick Airport and its retailers, who played a key role in reporting offences to bring this case to court.

“We work closely together to prevent and detect crime, and to take action against anyone caught committing offences.”

Gatwick

Crawley MP launches new cross-party group to fight for future of UK aviation

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Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has launched a new cross-party group of MPs to fight for the future of UK aviation after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Crawley MP is Chair of the Future of Aviation Group which will seek to highlight the importance of a vibrant aviation sector to consumers, businesses and the overall UK economy. The Group is urging ministers to introduce measures to support the recovery of the UK’s aviation sector.

Henry said;

“It is of course right that public health concerns remain the Government’s most urgent priority, but the level of support from MPs from all sides and from all regions reflects the pressing need for the Government to provide much more support to our aviation sector, given that aviation is one of the sectors worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aviation will be vital to our long-term economic recovery at national and local levels and it is high time that Government avoid any further delay and introduce financial measures that support the aviation industry; the businesses, employees and the communities who depend on it.

“We cannot allow Britain’s economic and social recovery to be held back through a failure to support our aviation industry. As a global, island trading nation the consequences of continuing inaction are unthinkable.”

The Group has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, setting out several urgent questions about the Government’s actions to date together with demands for further urgent policy intervention.

You can read the full letter by clicking here.

The letter to the Secretary of State raises several points, including:

  • How often will the 14-day quarantine period be reviewed, and will Government prioritise ‘air bridges’ to restart safe travel to and from low risk countries?
  • What discussions have been held at an international level to find a Common International Standard for aviation health protocols to build consumer confidence?
  • What discussions have been held with local authorities and airport representatives regarding central Government support for business rates relief?
  • What consideration has been given to financial measures to support the restart of domestic aviation and to protect vital regional routes?
  • What additional support can be made available to local authorities and the aviation supply chain until passenger numbers increase?
  • What assessment has been made of the importance of aviation to the nation’s economic recovery?
  • What assessment has been made of the likely timescale of the recovery of businesses in the tourism sector who are reliant on international tourism?
  • What assessment has been made of the opportunity to support low carbon aviation technologies as a way to support UK economic recovery and help aviation deliver its net zero commitment?

The creation of the Future of Aviation Group is Henry’s latest intervention on this issue.

Henry added;

“With Gatwick Airport being such a key local employer I’m very conscious of the Crawley economy being reliant on the aviation and travel industry.

“I’ll continue my representations with ministers, airports and airlines on behalf of the Crawley workers, families, businesses and customers for whom this sector is so important.”

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