Teenager arrested for handing in a mobile phone

“Police have found a new way to plug those gaps in the DNA database by arresting people for being honest.” – Home Office Watch has spotted the story of a Southport teenager who was arrested after handing in a mobile phone he had found, to a police station. Paul Leicester was held for four hours, questioned and had his DNA, fingerprints and photo taken.

His alleged offence was “theft by finding” – even though he had not attempted to deprive the phone’s owner of their property, and handed it in as soon as possible. Merseyside Police have now withdrawn the case.

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This entry was posted in Big mad database and News.


  • Helen Duffett 3rd Apr '09 - 2:15pm

    I’ve just spoken to Merseyside Police, who say that Mr Leicester’s DNA is still on the database, but that the process for removing it has begun, “under National Policing Improvement Agency guidelines.”

  • Richard Huzzey 3rd Apr '09 - 3:05pm

    It seems, over the last year, that there’s a weekly succession of stories regarding the police operating in a bizarre fashion. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic…


  • Even if his DNA is removed, even if he complains and the arrest is ruled unlawful, he’ll still be *officially* stigmatised for life. Apply for any job that requires an enhanced CRB check and it will record that he’s a suspected thief. What employer will take a chance on someone with a ‘police record’, when they can pick someone who doesn’t?

    Oh, and he can’t travel to the US for the rest of his life without an interview at the embassy (arrested = guilty)

    I think the problem with the police is that arresting someone is so routine for them, they don’t think (actually they don’t give a toss) of the effect their actions can have on a law abiding member of the public who would never normally be involved with them. Another tick against the arrest targets and another entry on the database.

  • “His alleged offence was “theft by finding””

    Sounds like something Nobby Nobs would come up with in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch

  • Time we improved the academic entry qualifications for the Police Service, I think….

  • Helen Duffett 4th Apr '09 - 8:19pm

    Hi Paul,

    We’re concerned too! I’ve emailed you some info which I hope will help.


  • Paul —

    You are right to be outraged at your treatment and I wish you all the luck overturning this travesty of justice.

  • i know paul and was talking about it in the streets and i got picked up for saying that the police are useless, thats no crime is it?

  • Paul – as you’re reading this, just wanted to say how sorry and outraged I am at your treatment. You did what any decent honest person would do and were treated appallingly. No good deed ever goes unpunished….

    Please pursue this as far as you can. Go to the IPCC (and don’t let them fob you off with an offer of ‘local resolution’ which takes your case off the official complaints stats redardless of outcome). Take it up with your local MP (particuarly the issue of a record remaining for an enhanced CRB check). Contact a solicitor who is a member of the Police Actions Lawyers Group and sue them for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. Only by worsening their stats and hitting them in the pocket are you likely to change anything and the officer who treated you like this (and the custody seargent) needs to be held to account.

    Good luck.

  • Andrew – it’s not a crime to call the police useless. Yet. Can you elaborate on what happened?

  • David Clegg 11th Apr '09 - 3:57pm


    I am Paul Leicester’s uncle, and i can’t believe what he’s gone through. Merseyside Police have made a mountain out a mole hill. DNA, Finger Prints and Photo what are they thinking. The TIT who reported the phone missing should be done for wasting police time as any decent person would of done the same.

    If anyone finds a phone throw it away as you might end up in the same boat as my nephew. The stress this has caused my family STINKS.

  • I have just lost my mobile phone, if someone handed it in, like this person, I would be extremely happy. The man should get a thank you, not questioned.

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