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Shoplifter punched security guard and threw drink in his face

08 Jul 2024 2 minute read
Image of the CCTV still used for Retrospective Facial Recognition Technology (left) and Spiteri’s custody picture.

A shoplifter who assaulted a security guard and threw drink in his face is in jail thanks to facial recognition technology.

On 12 June 2024, an unknown man walked into the Sainsbury’s store on St Mary Street, Cardiff, and put two alcoholic drinks into his pocket before trying to walk out.

A shop security guard saw him and asked for them to be returned but the man refused.

He left the shop but returned shortly after to throw one of the drinks over the security guard and punch him.

Officers sourced a CCTV still of the suspect from the store and Retrospective Facial Recognition Technology identified Marcus Spiteri.


Retrospective Facial Recognition Technology compares still images of faces of unknown subjects against a reference image database in order to identify them.

Spiteri, 39, was arrested, charged with assault and shoplifting and jailed for 14 weeks within one week of the offence taking place.

Officer in the case, PC Grace Burr, said: “We will not tolerate any form of abuse towards shopworkers.

“Working closely with management at the Sainsbury’s store in Cardiff, we were able to use facial recognition technology to identify the perpetrator quickly and make an arrest.

“He found himself in prison within a week, and it’s this type of quick justice which facial recognition technology can help deliver.”

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