Stop, thief!

Opinion

Stop, thief!

Naming and shaming seems to be one new weapon that the authorities are using when it comes to dealing with those breaking the law - tax cheats and kerb crawlers in particular. However, one case seems to have gone too far.

Simon Cremer and three others took the law into their own hands in 2008 when dealing with an employee, Mark Gilbert.

Apparently Gilbert forged a cheque for £845 drawn on Cremer's flooring company bank account and attempted to present it to Cash Converters. Cremer and his colleagues caught Gilbert, tied him up and marched him through the streets of Witham, Essex, with a placard around his neck saying 'THIEF. I stole £845 am on my way to the police station'.

As interesting as this method of handling a thief sounds, it's not very advisable; Gilbert spent four hours in a police cell and was let off with a caution while Cremer and his friends spent 12 hours in a cell and were charged with false imprisonment, a charge that risks life imprisonment.

Even though the charges were eventually dropped against the four, Cremer has been sued for £90,000 by Gilbert and has recently been forced to settle because of the costs of defending the claim.

The advice for employers handling stealing staff? Don't be a vigilante, call the police.

This was first published in November 2010

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