Five years ago Shaun Harvey was known to North Devon police as the number one prolific criminal with more than 170 convictions. He was a heavy drug user and dealer, lived in public toilets and was banned from many high street shops. After time in prison a
Five years ago Shaun Harvey was known to North Devon police as the number one prolific criminal with more than 170 convictions.He was a heavy drug user and dealer, lived in public toilets and was banned from many high street shops.After time in prison and attending the Christian-run Freedom drop-in centre in Barnstaple, Shaun has become a devout Christian and has turned his life around.His story is now being used during National Tackling Drugs Week to help raise awareness of work by local police and different agencies in dealing with the problems of drug dependency.Shaun said: "I used to break the law every day, and I can't even drop a sweet wrapper on the floor now!"Shaun is now working as an outreach worker in North Devon, helping other Safelyusers to inject safely and to motivate them to stop taking drugs.He said: "To be working on the front line is great and to be the initial point of contact for people who generally wouldn't seek help is amazing."Safer North Devon Partnership Sergeant Andy McClenaghan said: "Shaun was a well known offender to local police in the area and is now a great success story. The work that Shaun is now doing has contributed to the 11 per cent decrease in acquisitive crime in North Devon and Torridge that we have seen in the last 12 months."The prolific and priority offender scheme (PPO) is a government initiative set up in 2004 to target a small number of offenders committing a disproportionate amount of crime. Local police work with different organisations to tackle and support individuals with the aim of breaking the repeat offending cycle. Agencies working with the police in North Devon include EDP, CARAT, DIP, Ovis Farm and the Bethany Project.