Depraved thief jailed for 14 months for snatching DUMMIES from babies’ mouths before 'sucking on them'

Josh Guilder

A dummy-swindler has been jailed for 14 months for snatching pacifiers from babies

Essex Police
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 09/02/2024

- 14:56

Updated: 09/02/2024

- 15:01

Josh Guilder sucked on the dummies to 'soothe himself'

A homeless man has been jailed for 14 months after he snatched dummies out of babies’ mouths and sucked on them to “soothe himself”.

Josh Guilder, 23, stole pacifiers from five babies around Harlow, Essex, between February 10 and August 7 last year.

Essex Police said that on one occasion, one of the children involved was assaulted.

He was charged with five counts of theft, three counts of common assault, and a public order offence.

Harlow Town Centre

Guilder stole pacifiers from five babies around Harlow, Essex


The 23-year-old’s lawyer said that he has “never been weaned from dummies”.

Guilder, who lives in a tent, was jailed for 14 months at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The dummy-stealer, who had no fixed address, would approach his targets and take the pacifier out from their mouths, proceeding to then run off with them.

His lawyer Mary Buxton told an earlier hearing at Chelmsford magistrates’ court that Guilder has “never been weaned from dummies”, adding that he “uses a dummy to soothe himself”.


“He said he would take the dummy, then go and sit in the tent and use the dummy,” said Buxton, who described the thefts as “purely acquisitive”.

In one hearing, the court was told: “This is a man who has targeted lonely women, on occasions making concerning comments to them before reaching into the prams and removing dummies from [children's] mouths.”

They said that he had “deliberately targeted” minors, adding: “You can't get more vulnerable than a baby.”

The incidents occurred in the Staple Tye Shopping Centre, Woodcroft, Parsloe Road and Cooks Spinney areas.

He first began his reign of terror against toddlers on February 10, and he was arrested on August 15 after police released a picture of a man they wanted to speak to in relation to the incidents.

Harlow Police Station

Essex Police said that on one occasion, one of the children involved was assaulted


During this time, officers we unable to identify Guilder and were forced to reassurance patrols in the Staple Tye Shopping centre. They eventually captured him on CCTV after he fled the scene after stealing another dummie.

Chief Inspector Paul Austin, District Commander for Harlow, said: “I know these incidents caused concern in our community and I’m pleased we’ve been able to identify the person responsible and hold him accountable.

“It can never be acceptable that people in Harlow feel concerned about going about their daily lives or with their children and my officers have worked hard to get this result.

“I want to thank the community for their support in our investigation. We are committed to keeping you safe and ensuring you feel safe.”

You may like