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Wife called Ashford man ‘absolute idiot’ for stealing from The Range in Cheriton, Folkestone

A “stupid” thief told a court his wife had called him an “absolute idiot” after he returned from a shopping trip with stolen items.

Stephen Keen from Ashford swiped various food and plastic storage containers from The Range in Cheriton, Folkestone.

Stephen Keen stole from the Range in Cheriton
Stephen Keen stole from the Range in Cheriton

The 60-year-old, who had not been in trouble with the law since 2015, walked into the store, grabbed a trolley and filled it with the items he wanted – but didn’t pay for them and left the shop.

Keen was later identified via the store’s CCTV footage and interviewed but initially denied he was the one who had stolen the goods.

He was bailed, but when he returned for a second interview and was shown the CCTV, he accepted it was him in the footage.

Keen, of Essetford Road, Ashford, was charged with shoplifting and admitted the offence when he appeared before magistrates in Folkestone on November 9.

Neil Sweeney, prosecuting, told the court the store had estimated the goods taken on July 9 were worth about £100, but Keen disputed this and said what he took that day came to £26.30.

“His wife said he was an absolute idiot...”

Mr Sweeney added: “He can be seen with a trolley and takes items off the shelves, but didn’t pay for them.

“He was identified later through the CCTV footage. In his second interview he was shown the CCTV and accepted it was him.

“He told officers he’d been stupid and ‘not done nothing’ for years, but said he had no excuse. The goods were not recovered.

“He has previous convictions, but nothing since 2015, some eight years ago, but the last matters are similar and there was a bit of a spate.”

Scott Neilson, defending, told the court his client lived with his wife and was a production line worker earning about £1,700 a month.

Stephen Keen stole from The Range store in Cheriton, Folkestone. Picture: Google Maps
Stephen Keen stole from The Range store in Cheriton, Folkestone. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Neilson said: “He’s been stupid. Things got on top of him.

“He has a terminally ill father and he is a carer for him and sees him several times a day. His dog died and his wife’s sister is ill.

“He was foolish and let things get on top of him. His wife said he was an absolute idiot. He had not needed the items and had no idea why he took them. He’s got many issues.”

Magistrates told Keen how stupid he had been and placed him on a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered he pay a victim surcharge of £26 as well as £85 court costs.

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