Teenagers from Thetford are first to receive reward for good deed in new police pilot

Jack Austin, Harry Cromwell and Jack Hutcherson, from Thetford, are the first to be awarded positive

Jack Austin, Harry Cromwell and Jack Hutcherson, from Thetford, are the first to be awarded positive notices in a pilot scheme by police in Breckland. - Credit: Archant

Three teenagers who reunited a woman with her forgotten purse have become the first to receive rewards for their good deed under a new police pilot scheme.

Jack Hutcherson, Jack Austin and Harry Cromwell were in Subway in Thetford when they noticed a female customer leave her purse on the table as she walked out.

They called to her without success before Jack Hutcherson ran down King Street with the purse to return it to its grateful owner.

Yesterday the 15-year-olds, who all attend Thetford Academy, were invited to Thetford Police Station to be presented with positive notices, a new scheme from Norfolk Police designed to reward good acts by young people in their communities.

Jack Hutcherson said: 'I called to the lady but she did not answer, so I ran down the street to give the purse to her. She looked happy and glad she got it back.'

Jack Austin added: 'We just wanted the woman to get her purse back. It is about doing the respectable thing.'

Chief Inspector Paul Wheatley, Breckland's policing commander, said: 'As a police officer, whenever I have had comments about youth it has often been negative, but much of what I see is positive.

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'These tickets will be issued to all my officers so they will be able to issue them to young people when they see good behaviour. There are so many good deeds being done by young people across the district and the county.

'As police we often just give bad news, so I welcome the opportunity to give good news.'

Lin Austin, Jack's mother, said she found out about the boys' good deed on the Thetford Forum Facebook page – it has since been liked and shared hundreds of times.

She said: 'To them it was just natural to do the right thing.

'There are so many people on Facebook saying that we do not need to right off the kids of this age group. There are good ones around. Certainly their age range needs to be recognised more.

'We have so many children in Thetford who are young carers or volunteers.'

This week Thetford Academy has been holding a Rewards Week, commending its hardworking students and their good acts.

Senior assistant principal Iain Mackintosh said: 'These positive notices tie in with recognising how good the young people of Thetford actually are.

'People look at the youngsters and say they are not good, but they are and they prove this day in and day out, and we need to recognise that.'

The positive notices can be exchanged for prizes offered by local businesses – the boys chose cinema vouchers, which they will be able to redeem at The Light Cinema in Thetford when it opens later this year.

They were also given vouchers by Subway for a free sub as a thank you for their deed.