Fury as brazen thief escapes arrest as he darts through Dover customs onto 'French soil'


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    Pub landlord Jemima Burne spotted the crook on CCTV and chased him from the Castle Inn to the nearby ferry terminal. Despite pointing him out to police, English officers could not arrest him as he had gone through customs and onto ‘French soil’. She raced to the French gendarme who also refused to act because the crime had taken place in the UK. Instead Ms Burne was forced to watch the man sail away with £5,000 of her belongings.

    “The idiocy of it all has left me absolutely fuming while this crook will be back home now playing tunes on my guitar through my amp and laughing his head off. He also took cups, saucers, a coffee machine and grinder – basically, anything he could lay his hands on.”

    Mr Burne was first made away of the daylight raid by builders working a the Castle Inn.

    CCTV shows the crime being committed at around 1pm on June 9, with the thief, allegedly identified as a bearded Italian named Luca, 31, loading the items into a dark blue Peugeot before using it to drive away.

    Luca had timed the raid perfectly, calmly strolling into the bar which is just a few hundreds yards away from the Channel ferry port, before taking a rare guitar, amp and a variety of other valuable items.


    Police did not arrest the thief as he was technically on “French soil”. (Image: Getty)


    The man drove to the Port of Dover straight after the theft. (Image: Getty)

    Ms Burne managed to track him down, but despite pointing him out to British police and having the entire thing on CCTV, was unable to get the justice she sought.

    She said: “I had witnesses, CCTV evidence of him carrying out the crime, pictures of him making his getaway in a car that he was now sitting in – alongside stolen loot.

    “Despite all that, the police forces of two countries stood to the side, waved this criminal scumbag onto the ferry – and let him off scot free. Thank the Lord he hadn’t done something more serious like murdered me.

    “In that case, they’d have probably offered him free counselling and a satnav to find his way home safely.”

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    The allegedly Italian man boarded a ferry to Italy at 2pm. (Image: Getty)


    The French police would not arrest the suspect as the crime took place in the UK. (Image: Getty)

    Ms Burne is infuriated with how the situation was handled by police, especially because he took things which were of significant value to her.

    The enraged publican explained that the police have sent her what she thinks is “a ridiculous explanation” for police not arresting the man.

    She said: ”To cap it all, the Kent police have now sent me a ridiculous explanation for their behaviour.

    “They say they can’t tell me the criminal’s name, even though they know it, to protect his privacy under data protection laws and they can’t be bothered issuing a European Arrest Warrant. They’ve actually suggested I ask the Italian police if they could ask him to send me back my property – as if a criminal is going to do that voluntarily.

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    The victim thought Brexit would mean the UK police would have more power at the borders. (Image: Express)


    Among the stolen items were a guitar and amp. (Image: Getty)

    “I employ people and pay taxes and I’ve been absolutely shafted by a foreign crook, aided and abetted by my local police force.”

    Luca had tried to book a room at the Inn the previous night, but builders told him it was shut because of Covid.

    Ms Burne was at home in nearby Deal when the alarm was raised, but by the time she had reached the port it was too late as Luca was ready to board the 2pm ferry.

    Police Sergeant Adam Scott, of Dover Police, said DFDS Seaways identified the culprit.

    He said: “He travelled on a one way ticket, so there is no indication as to when he will return to the UK.


    It was described as the “perfect crime”. (Image: Getty)

    “The theft appears to have been timed with embarkation in mind, reducing the chances of capture.

    “The vehicle has been nominated on our police system to be stopped should it ever return to the UK.

    “Action will then be taken on the occupants regarding this theft.”

    PC Ian Woodland, also of Dover Police, said if circumstances were reversed – with Italian police requesting they take action – it would also have to be politely refused for the same reasons.


    The victim was outraged at how the police handled the incident. (Image: Getty)

    Luca could yet be arrested via a European Arrest Warrant, but he described this as “highly unlikely.”

    PC Woodland added: “I feel the most the Italian police might be able to do is to try to encourage the suspect to hand over the property to them, and then make suitable arrangements for its return to you.”

    A Kent police spokesperson refused to comment because the suspect had not been charged with an offence.

    Port of Dover police failed to respond to repeated requests for a comment.


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