I saw a programme TV last week on the Bournmouth Tesco Bomber. I am no fan of Tesco, whose continued expansion means less consumer choice and the closure of small family run shops.
But attacking the stores customers with letter bombs is a criminal act that should see the perpetrator locked up for decades. For six months the hunt for this bomber prompted the biggest investigation Dorset police had ever mounted as officers tried to catch the bomber trying to extort millions of pounds from Tesco.
In one case, a parcel bomb detonated after a 70-year-old man opened it at his home in Bournemouth. The parcel exploded in the pensioner's hands leaving him severely shaken. Luckily he was not injured by the device contained in a padded bag when he received it, although police said the explosion was capable of causing a fire or injury. Three more letter bombs were discovered at the local sorting office and a further seven Tesco customers received threatening letters warning that anyone seen shopping at the store would be a target. It became apparent that the blackmailer was following customers home from Tesco, and was prepared to carry out his or her threats. It was a five-month extortion campaign, which had the potential to endanger hundreds of lives
In May 2001 Mr Dyer was found guilty of nine cases of Blackmail and one of common assault. He was jailed for 16 years, later reduced to 12 on appeal. Six years later Dyer was released from prison, he is now a free man!
In 2007 Gordon Brown insisted no prisoner serving a sentence for a serious violent crime had been released early. Sammy Stewart was jailed for six years in 2004 for a savage knife slashing that left his victim needing 44 stitches in a face wound, and a culpable homicide incident in 1995. He was released in January this year. Last week he was sent back to jail after carrying out a street attack in Edinburgh following his early release from prison.
Last years early release plan was for hundreds of non-violent and non-sexual offenders to be automatically freed from jail halfway through their sentence, in an attempt to reduce the pressure on overcrowded prisons.
"The simple fact is that if prison overcrowding is resulting in sentences being cut even further than they already are, then the Criminal Justice System is failing victims of crime and further demoralising frontline officers who see those they have brought to justice out again before the paperwork is even completed," said Federation Chairman Paul McKeever in 2008.”
And yet much of the increasing prison numbers is related to alcohol and drug offences which is high and growing. At the end of October 2007, 15% of male sentenced prisoners had been convicted of drug offences. In 1995 drug offences accounted for 10% of male sentenced prisoners.
So stop shops selling cheap alcohol and reduce the opening hours its available. Going back to one of my first blogs, we also need to improve prison nutrition also.
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