A prolific shoplifter who repeatedly targeted supermarkets across the Swale area of north Kent and stole items totalling around £1,000 has been jailed.

Mark Hewitt was responsible for a catalogue of offences between May and August 2023, when he stole meat and alcohol from shops including Sainsbury’s, Aldi, and Marks and Spencer.

Hewitt, from Sittingbourne, was initially arrested by Kent Police on 7 May, as part of the force’s ongoing clampdown on shoplifting.

He was charged and released on bail pending a court appearance but continued to steal. He was arrested again on 21 July and charged with further offences. While he was detained, Hewitt caused damage to police property by throwing food and urinating in his cell.

After appearing before court, the 48-year-old was subject to bail conditions prior to sentencing but his crimewave continued.

On 5 August, an off-duty officer witnessed Hewitt committing another theft at a shop in East Street, Sittingbourne and it was later discovered he had taken items from the same store in an earlier incident that day.

Hewitt was arrested and whilst being taken into custody subjected two officers to a tirade of racial abuse.


He was remanded to Medway Magistrates’ Court and sentenced on Monday 7 August, having pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft, two counts of racially aggravated harassment, and two counts of criminal damage.

Hewitt was jailed for a year and fined almost £200.

Sergeant John Sangster, of the Swale Vicim Based Crime Team, said: ‘Shoplifting has a detrimental impact on businesses and the local community and Kent Police takes all reports of such offences seriously.‘Hewitt repeatedly targeted stores in areas including Faversham, Sittingbourne and Queenborough and subjected our officers to abhorrent and unacceptable abuse. He is a career criminal who has shown no remorse for his actions.

‘This sentence is just another example of our crackdown on shop thieves in the district, which has seen 73 charges authorised in June and July. We are continuing to focus on tackling anti-social behaviour, including shoplifting, as part of the force’s ongoing Safer Summer initiative.’

Click here for more information about Safer Summer.

By Ed

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