A Rochford trader has criticised police for failing to investigate two shoplifters who were caught on CCTV.

The manager at the store, who has asked neither he or the business be identified, recovered images of two suspects they believed had stolen £100 of toys on December 15.

The evidence was passed to police but the manager was astonished to receive a letter back from police saying the matter wouldn’t be investigated.

The letter from Essex Police said: “Essex Police has recently undertaken a review of its processes and practises. On review of any crime we have to consider the best way in which it is to be dealt with under our current investigation strategy.

“Every crime reported is taken seriously and proportionate review of this offence has been conducted.

“The financial loss to you is minimal.”

After considering whether it would be “cost effective” to investigate the incident, the letter adds: “I regret in this instance it is not viable to continue with the matter.”

The manager said: “The letter from Essex Police is an insult to decent law-abiding people and gives thieves a free pass.

“We caught two young male shoplifters who ran off, we captured this on our CCTV and promptly called the police who quite frankly did not seem to be interested and then sent us the letter.”

The manager said he had since recorded over the images as there was no chance of the incident being investigated.

It is not the first time the police have come under fire over their new stance on shoplifters. In July, housebuilder Weston Homes offered a £20,000 reward for information on the theft items worth £250,000 from the company’s storage facility off Fairfax Drive, Westcliff on July 10. Police didn’t attend until July 21, leaving the company “deeply disappointed”.

Following the Rochford theft, Chief Insp Glen Westley, district commander for Castle Point, said: “When deciding how we investigate reports of crime and what resources we can allocate we have to consider a number of factors including the threat, harm, and risk posed to the public and the impact on the community.

“I’m always happy to review our response to reports of crime to ensure our rationale for how we’ve dealt with an incident is the correct one and I will do so in this case.”