A new police pilot scheme will see teenage shoplifters employed in Norwich city centre businesses.
The Month of Sundays scheme is intended to give young people the chance to show remorse without getting a criminal record, the Telegraph has reported.
Participants could find themselves washing up in restaurants or serving in shops at weekends, as well as spending time looking at the consequences of their crimes.
Team leader Inspector Ross McDermott said: “What we don’t want to do is criminalise a whole generation of young people who have made a mistake and, if dealt with properly, probably won’t commit another offence in their lives.”
He added: “There will always be serious or prolific offenders who we will deal with through the courts, but this is a chance to stop youngsters ruining their lives.”
Some local shopkeepers are concerned about the scheme, with one, Tina Sayer of Planet News, saying: “I would not be comfortable with shoplifters having anything to do with cash or stock. I believe that a leopard does not change its spots.”