A thief from Ashford who stole designer footwear from a shopping centre on Kimberley Way, along with cleaning products and food from shops around the town, has been jailed for six months.

Oliver Hilden, 41, also stole a parcel from a residential address in Ashford.

On 6 November 2023, Hilden was identified by an officer from Ashford’s Community Safety Unit on CCTV, following three separate shoplifting offences at the shopping centre at the start of the month.

The officer later identified Hilden from CCTV at a residential address in Ashford, from which a parcel had been stolen – a crime that was under investigation by Ashford’s Victim Based Crime Team.

The team was also able to connect Hilden to a further three shoplifting offences that had taken place in Ashford town centre during the summer.

On 12 November 2023, Hilden was arrested and taken into custody, whereupon a search revealed that he was carrying a knife.

He was charged with seven counts of shoplifting, one count of theft and possession of a knife.

Hilden appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court on 13 November 2023 and pleaded guilty to all the offences. He was sentenced to 180 days’ imprisonment on the same day.

PC Steve Harding, of Ashford’s Victim Based Crime Team, said:

‘This investigation is a great example of collaboration across our teams, with officers working together to bring persistent offenders such as Hilden to justice swiftly.

‘Tackling shoplifting is a responsibility we take seriously, and we want to encourage business owners to continue to report incidents to us.

‘We are committed to tackling knife crime and removing dangerous weapons such as knives from our communities. This week, Operation Sceptre is highlighting our work with partners to target habitual knife carriers, together with weapon sweeps.’

Find out more about Operation Sceptre Ashford Police webpages.

Report shoplifting online, by calling 101 or by calling 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.

By Ed

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