'Free beer' offer snares suspects


More than a dozen suspected criminals have been arrested as part of an undercover sting operation after being duped into phoning the police to claim free beer.

Derbyshire Police said the suspects were detained after officers sent letters to a string of people who had evaded arrest for several months, urging them to claim a complimentary crate of beer from a marketing company.

A total of 19 suspects, wanted in connection with a range of offences including robbery, burglary and sexual assault, fell for the hoax and called the number on the letters, which put them through to officers based at Chesterfield Police Station.

Police then arranged a time and date for the free alcohol to be dropped off, but instead arrested those awaiting free beer at locations in Chesterfield, Staveley, Alfreton, Ilkeston, Sheffield and Nottingham.

Chief Inspector Graham McLaughlin, who led the operation, said: "These suspects are people who have managed to evade arrest for some time so we have used different tactics to find them.

"It has been very cost-effective as it can take a lot of time and money to track people down.

"We use a variety of methods to arrest those suspected of committing criminal offences and we will continue to use new tactics when necessary." PA