I'm 25 from the UK.
Just before Christmas I got really drunk and went out to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Whilst out, I decided to try my hand at shoplifting in Debenhams. I was caught.
The police were called, but they took me home instead of to the police station (which was fortunate) after I told them that I live in supported living (kinda like a care home dealio) due to my Autism. They took me home and confirmed my story and said I will need to come for an interview.
Long story short: the police cancelled the interview & dropped the charges after I signed up for an alcohol help/counselling service (I have a long, long history of doing idiotic things while drunk). I've been going to that every week since then. I think it also helped that this was my first time shoplifting (or being charged with anything)
Now, almost a month later, I receive a letter from "RLP - The Civil Recovery Specialists since 1998" saying that Debenhams are threatening me with a civil lawsuit for my heinous crimes against humanity.
I was instantly suspicious of this letter, however, as I haven't actually been charged or cautioned for anything yet, and the letter did say the shoplifting was 'alleged' -- so how can they threaten me with legal action for a crime that is only alleged?
How can they take me to court if I've not been charged with any crime?
Would this actually go to court if I ignored the letters?
What should my response be?