Why weren't theft pupils sent to trial?

FUMING parents have slammed the criminal justice system after pupils behind a suspected �1,000 phone, iPod and Oyster card school theft escaped prosecution. They attacked the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to bring a year 10 and a GCSE pupil before

FUMING parents have slammed the criminal justice system after pupils behind a suspected �1,000 phone, iPod and Oyster card school theft escaped prosecution.

They attacked the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to bring a year 10 and a GCSE pupil before the courts after seven students had items stolen from changing rooms at Eastbrook Comprehensive, Dagenham Road.

CCTV was available, some valuables were returned, and the suspected thieves were immediately removed from school.

Denise Pitcher, 44, of Bainbridge Road, Dagenham, whose 16-year-old son lost �100 worth of items, said parents were furious.


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Eastbrook headteacher Valerie Dennis also expressed surprise after the case was dropped by the CPS on Thursday. Police stressed one of the youths had been given a reprimand.

Mrs Pitcher said: "I and some other parents are fuming because that doesn't help us to get our sons' property back, and the boys get off scot-free.

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"It's no good going for a private prosecution - it's too expensive. A solicitor won't take it on if the CPS won't entertain it. So where do we go from here?"

The school said the pupils had not been expelled, as one was studying at a special tuition centre and the other studying from home.

Ms Dennis said: "The school regrets this unusual, one-off incident. We immediately took action. The police investigated with all the students and the staff and they gave statements.

"Some of the belongings were returned. I'm unsure why there was not enough evidence to see it through.".

A spokesman for the CPS said: "There must be enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. Secondly, it must be in the public interest to proceed. If these criteria are not met, we will not proceed to charge.

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