REVEALED: Pensioner crime soars by 25 per cent in Sheffield

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Crime committed by old age pensioners in Sheffield has soared by 25 per cent in the last three years, The Star can reveal.

Drugs trafficking, prostitution, gun crime, assaults and robberies are just some of the 298 crimes committed by pensioners in the city, according to figures released under Freedom of Information.

The figures, released by South Yorkshire Police, reveal that pensioner crime has risen by 25 per cent in Sheffield – from 89 in 2013 to 111 in 2015.

A spokesman for the Centre for Crime Prevention described the increase as ‘worrying’ and said police should take steps to address the root cause of pensioner offending.

According to the figures, the offence most committed by pensioners – people aged 65 and over – is shoplifting.

In the three year period there were 129 shoplifting offences, which equates to 43 per cent of all crimes carried out by pensioners.

There were 65 offences of assault, 22 for criminal damage and eight of harassment.

There was a tie for the fifth most common pensioner crime – with racially or religiously aggravated public disorder, public disorder, and possession of cannabis each having seven.

The figures, released by South Yorkshire Police reveal that 226 men were arrested by police compared to 72 women – meaning men are more than three times as likely to be involved in criminal activity than women.

Some of the most bizarre offences to be committed by elderly people include: five offences of drugs trafficking; three of possessing firearms with intent; two of soliciting prostitution; two of robbery; one of stalking and one of obscene publication.

The oldest man to be arrested was 91-years-old and the oldest woman was 90. The statistics did not list their crimes, however.

A spokesman for the Centre for Crime Prevention described the findings as ‘worrying’.

They said: “To some these figures might seem amusing, but crime is no laughing matter to the victims regardless of the age of the perpetrator.

“This is a significant spike in pensioner offenders over a short period and it is therefore something police should be taking seriously and looking to address the root cause of.

“If, as seems likely, these figures represent career criminals continuing to offend into their old-age, then it is yet another reason why tangible steps need to be taken to cut re-offending rates and ensure that the penalties handed out for offences do fit the crime.”

The law is clear in its firm treatment of anyone found guilty of criminal activities – whatever their age.

Crown Prosecution Service guidelines state that ‘reliance should not be placed on preconceived or stereotypical notions and norms about older people in general’.