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Lowestoft teen amongst highest offenders

PUBLISHED: 11:02 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:59 06 July 2010

A HARD core of about 150 criminals in Suffolk are responsible for more than 3,000 offences, new figures have revealed.

Nearly 150 of the county's most notorious thieves and troublemakers have been arrested on a total of 5,151 occasions and convicted 3,034 times, with one Lowestoft teen arrested 19 times and convicted 12 times.

A HARD core of about 150 criminals in Suffolk are responsible for more than 3,000 offences, new figures have revealed.

Nearly 150 of the county's most notorious thieves and troublemakers have been arrested on a total of 5,151 occasions and convicted 3,034 times, with one Lowestoft teen arrested 19 times and convicted 12 times.

The Lowestoft teen is one of the youngest persistent offenders, together with two 14-year-olds from Sudbury - one of whom has been arrested 20 times and has nine convictions.

The worst prolific and other priority offender (PPO) in terms of arrests is a 20-year-old from Ipswich who had 132 to his name by the middle of last month.

The oldest PPO, a 47-year-old Ipswich man, holds the unenviable record for the most convictions in the county with 67.

The figures, which were issued after a Freedom of Information request, show at least 10 of the 144 one-person crimewaves were back in prison when they were produced. However, others are known to have been remanded in custody since.

A charity for crime victims said it is imperative that people see the justice system is working and that offenders are being rehabilitated.

Paul Fawcett, spokesman for Victim Support, said: “The system as a whole needs to do a good job with persistent offenders because of the consequences which can undermine people's confidence in the criminal justice system.

“There is a risk that it will get harder and harder to get witnesses to court because they will think 'why should I put myself through the ordeal if nothing happens because of it'.

“When there has been a failure to stop people re-offending the victims are going to feel let down by the system that is supposed to help them.”

Stuart Hudson, Suffolk's prolific and other priority offender co-ordinator, said the number of PPOs has been reduced since the scheme was launched in 2004.

Police, the probation and youth offending services, drug agencies, prisons and other agencies are all involved with enforcing the scheme through the courts. However, they also make every effort to help rehabilitate the repeat offenders.

Mr Hudson said: “PPO numbers have reduced as crime has reduced over the county, particularly motor vehicle crime and burglary.

“Three schemes in the county are able to identify the most at risk persons of re-offending and take action to reduce this offending.

“The work with PPO's in Suffolk has been very successful to date. However, we are conscious that there will be other offenders who can, if not managed correctly, have a massive impact on communities.

“We are working with all partners to ensure that the best possible services to reduce the re-offending are in place and to ensure we are even more efficient and effective.”

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