The conviction and jailing this week of Joseph Isaacs for the appalling hammer attack against Jim Booth, a 96-year-old D-Day veteran in his home in Taunton, Devon, in November 2017, illustrates the arrogance that some criminals have.
Isaacs was a homeless man, who burgled Mr Booth by calling at his door and demanding money. For some reason, he decided to attack Mr booth, a clearly defenceless man, with a claw hammer, where he repeatedly hit him with it, leaving him for dead.
Isaacs stole bank cards among other small items and proceeded to use the cards to make small purchases in local shops, using the contactless method.
The conviction followed an easy audit trail, where there was CCTV available in the shops where the bank card was used and during his trial, Isaacs said he was desperate for food because he had not eaten for four days and he was also suffering from mental health.
There was no evidence that he was suffering mental health and there is no need for anyone to be homeless or hungry with the support services, both official and voluntary, which are available.
Quite rightly, he was sentenced for the attempted murder of Mr Booth, aggravated burglary, grievous bodily harm and fraud. He will serve 20 years.
This case followed another recent conviction, where a young man was stopped in a car and found in possession of a bank card from a burglary, where the car was stopped following a routine check by a patrolling officer.
These cases demonstrate to me the greed and arrogance which some criminals have, where quite small crimes, such a shoplifting or a motoring offence, will uncover much more serious crimes.
I have often said to new police officers that the minor crimes are always worth looking into and despite budget cuts, where some of the minor crimes are simply recorded with little or no investigation carried out, it is still important to conduct the basic investigation, because one thing can lead to another.
To bring this to a local level, in Farnborough, a couple of criminals had repeatedly stolen goods from a well-known shop. Over the course of a week, the value of the stolen goods amounted to £8.000.00.
The persons responsible were spared prison, but they were convicted of many thefts, but they were drug addicts, so they continued to steal.
They clearly had a market for their stolen goods because they stole from the same company, but in a different area, where they thought that they would not be known.
On the way back from one theft, they chose to stop at a local shop and steal food. The value of the stolen food was less than £5.00, but because they had developed a habit of stealing, they made a bad decision not to pay this small amount, where staff reported the theft as it had occurred, and they were stopped very soon afterwards by a plain clothed police unit.
In their bags were the high value stolen goods from the earlier theft, together with the balaclavas used and clothing they had tried to conceal their identities with.
The investigation led to other convictions, where the shop had made a record of three previous high value thefts which had not been reported, so they my have got away with these crimes had it not been for the greed they had in wanting to reserve all their money for drugs and not pay the small amount for lunch.
The same can apply to petrol thefts. Quite often when these are reported, the driver is caught on CCTV and they may be a disqualified driver, or the car has been used in crimes such as burglaries, and by not paying for £20.00 of fuel, this can lead to a report of theft and the CCTV will lead to other more serious crimes being revealed.
It is easy sometimes for the police to make decisions about what crimes will not be investigated in the way they use to and for shops and garages etc to decide not to report minor theft because they don’t see much point, but for the above reasons, for me, everything has it`s place and in my experience, it is often the low level offending which leads to a bigger picture and this is why it is important not to lose sight of this.