A YOB was given a £90 fine after he stole a cardboard cop and then smashed it up on a petrol station forecourt.

The 23-year-old, from Basildon, took the cardboard cut-out of a Essex Police officer from the Tesco petrol station in Pitsea.

He then took it in to the forecourt and smashed it to pieces before hopping in to his dad’s car.

Sgt Simon Gray, from the Basildon Retail Crime Unit, tracked down CCTV of the incident and traced the getaway car to an address in Basildon.

He visited the yob on March 11 and issued him with a £90 fixed penalty ticket.

There are three cardboard cut outs at petrol stations and supermarkets across Basildon town centre.

They are paid for by the Community Safety Partnership – a joint Basildon Council and Essex Police fund set up to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

The cut outs are used to deter shoplifters.

Sgt Gray, who is based at Basildon police station, said: “These cardboard cut-outs have received some bad press in the past.

“We do not use them to replace officers, instead they are a tool that we use to deter shoplifters and we have seen a reduction in shoplifting offences at the stores where these cut outs are located.

“This man obviously thought it would be funny to take this cut out to the forecourt and kick it to pieces.

“Whatever he may have thought this cut out was there for a reason.

“We did manage to track down this man using CCTV and this week he was dealt with by way of a £90 fine.”