Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court :::

With shoplifting cases escalating across the country Kent Police have successfully brought almost 130 charges against perpetrators since January, including a prolific shop thief who was jailed just 24 hours after being tracked by officers to a railway station near Tunbridge Wells. 

Stephen Harrison was carrying a rucksack full of stolen alcohol when he was arrested trying to flee on a train from High Brooms. He was detained by patrols on Monday 17 June 2024, and when his bag was searched eight bottles of spirits were recovered.

patrols latest

Police on patrol Image: Kent Police

In the previous weeks, the 35-year-old had also targeted Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores in Tonbridge, stealing goods with a value of more than £800. On Tuesday 18 June, Harrison, of no fixed address, was remanded to Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and was immediately sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, which included activation of a previous suspended term for further shoplifting offences.   

In another case, a shoplifter was arrested on the same day as Harrison and was swiftly convicted. William Quinsey was detained following an investigation into a theft at a Co-op in Holborough Road, on 22 May. He reportedly entered the store and stole several boxes of the energy drink, Red Bull.

On Wednesday 19 June, he pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court to a charge of theft and also admitted a charge of interfering with a motor vehicle, in relation to attempts to steal from a car on Saturday 8 June. Quinsey, 27, from Snodland, has a further hearing at the same court, on 30 August.

Chief Inspector Stuart Paul said:

‘Between January and May this year, officers across Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells have successfully brought almost 130 charges against shoplifters.

‘These prosecutions help us evidence patterns of offending behaviour, which can also be used in court to apply for criminal behaviour orders and help us crack down even further on the most persistent and prolific thieves.

‘We recognise that shoplifting is not a low-level crime. It can have a detrimental effect on staff who are exposed to threats and abuse, and I do hope retailers can have confidence that our work is having a positive impact.’

By Ed

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