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By unknown | Dec 23, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

POOR people who are desperate have been advised by an Anglican priest in Britain to shoplift from major stores.

POOR people who are desperate have been advised by an Anglican priest in Britain to shoplift from major stores.

Reverend Tim Jones said in his Sunday sermon that stealing from successful shops was preferable to burglary, robbery or prostitution.

He told parishioners it would not break the eighth commandment - "thou shalt not steal" - because it "is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food so they do not starve".

But his advice was condemned by the police and the local Conservative Party MP.

Father Jones, 42, was discussing Mary and the birth of Jesus when he went on to how poor and vulnerable people cope in the run-up to Christmas.

"My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift," he told his stunned congregation at St Lawrence and St Hilda in York.

"I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

"I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

"I would ask them not to take any more than they need. I offer the advice with a heavy heart. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift.

"The observation that shoplifting is the best option some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are. This is a call for our society to no longer treat its most vulnerable with indifference.

"When people are released from prison or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.

"We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime."

The father of two, whose parish has a wide mix of social conditions, said his advice to people in dire circumstances is that "they should not hurt anybody and cope as best they can".

"The strong temptation is to burgle or rob people - family, friends, neighbours, strangers.

"Others are tempted towards prostitution, a nightmare world of degradation and abuse for all concerned. Others are tempted towards suicide. Instead, I would rather that they shoplift.

"The life of the poor in modern Britain is a constant struggle, a minefield of competing opportunities, responsibilities, obligations and requirements, a constant effort to achieve the impossible.

He said that for the poor, a lawful honest life can be "an apparent impossibility".

Meanwhile Anne McIntosh, the Tory MP for Vale of York, has campaigned for stronger sentences for shoplifters. She said: "Shoplifting is a crime against the whole community and society."

A police spokesperson said: "Shoplifting is a criminal offence and . to justify it is highly irresponsible." - Daily Mail


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