Complaint from man who had cannabis and cash stolen is rejected by Police Ombudsman

Published Date: 06.12.2018

A man who complained that police had not properly investigated a burglary in which two cannabis plants and £1300 were stolen, has had his complaint rejected by the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

The man accused police of not investigating the burglary properly by failing to seize and examine evidence and question potential witnesses.

A safe hidden in a cabinet containing the sum of money and a number of watches were also stolen in the burglary, which occurred in May of this year in Newtownards.

On entering the property police had found lighting equipment and a tent which contained a number of cannabis leaves. Officers interviewed the man who admitted growing cannabis plants for his personal use but said he did not know it was a criminal offence.

He was subsequently cautioned for possession and cultivation of a Class B drug.
The man told Police Ombudsman investigators that forensic officers had come to the flat after he reported the burglary and had swept the property for fingerprints and DNA evidence.

He added that after finding a single sock in his home which did not belong to him he had brought it to the local police station and submitted it for DNA testing.

However he said that when he later found a pair of socks which also did not belong to him and brought those to the station, police refused to take them from him. As he believed these socks may have been used as gloves in the burglary he complained that important evidence was not seized.

The man also raised concerns about possible witnesses not being contacted after he called to other properties in his apartment block at the end of June to ask if police had spoken to occupants.

However, Police Ombudsman investigators found that, as well as attending the scene with crime scene investigators, police had carried out house to house inquiries and conducted CCTV checks.

Police had also seized the socks after calling to the man’s flat a few days after the burglary in response to his phone call regarding the items.

As no failings were identified in the police investigation, no misconduct was found and the complaint was closed as unsubstantiated. 
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