Police in Southend On Sea have defended an officer’s decision to stop an elderly shoplifter by laying a stinger device across the pavement.

According to witnesses, 85-year-old Bernardette Cribbage had just ran out of Fags and Gags off-licence and fetishwear store on North Street with a packet of Wine Gums, a pouch of Old Holborn and nipple clamps when she was snagged on the stinger device that had been laid down by a local officer.

One said, ‘She was doing about 2 mph when she left the shop, but as soon as she ran over the stinger device she stumbled a couple of times and fell into a bush.’

’It seemed a bit harsh to be honest. They could have done a TPAC manœuvre instead or something.’

A police spokesperson said, ‘Our Officer decided to lay down a stinger on this occasion because she could have wandered off in the other direction and hit a small dog with her walking stick.’

Southend councillor Rick Trough praised the actions of the officer.

He added, ‘If the elderly feral scum of this town aren’t sent a clear message that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable, this problem will only get worse.’

’The stinger wouldn’t have hurt much anyway as she was old and these people hardly have any feeling left in the lower limbs anyway.’

’She probably lost her real feet in the war or something.’

In an unrelated development, a source has confirmed that a trial will soon be underway where landmines will be installed at various locations across the seafront to deal with unwelcome individuals.

He said, ‘This will include those who want to behave anti-socially, bikers, men, women, children, that sort of thing.’