Published: 11:02, 22 November 2019
| Updated: 11:30, 22 November 2019
A "brazen" shoplifter has been jailed for over two years after stealing about £1,500 worth of goods from supermarkets across the county.
Benjamin Birch, 37, stole high-value items including joints of meat, boxes of washing detergent, tubs of chocolates, packets of razor blades and bottles of gin, from a wide number of shops.
The stores he targeted included branches of Tesco, Aldi, Co-op and Sainsbury's.
Birch repeatedly smuggled goods out of the shops by hiding them in bags, or in his walking frame.
But the extent of his shoplifting was only realised when staff reviewed their CCTV footage and saw his stealing had been caught on camera.
On one occasion, at Sainsbury's in Bysing Wood Road, Faversham, he stole at least 14 beef joints - placing them into shopping bags before leaving the store. Although shop staff tried to stop him, he left with almost all of the stolen items.
Birch, of Westmeads Road in Whitstable, admitted the charges.
He was sentenced to a total of 114 weeks in prison, at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday (November 18).
Sergeant Lee Thompson of Kent Police, who oversaw the investigation, said: "Birch’s propensity for stealing meant the stores were left out of pocket, amounting to losses of hundreds of pounds each.
"Staff working at the stores reported that he would often intimidate them and claim he had needles he would use against them if they tried to stop him.
"He was brazen in his approach, ignoring any bans to enter the stores and he showed little concern for the impact his stealing was having, not just on the businesses, but the staff whose time was spent reviewing CCTV and reporting the incidents when it should have been focused on customers instead.
"I am grateful to the stores and their staff for supporting the investigation. Shoplifting and theft in general is unacceptable and Kent Police will always work to identify those responsible for such crimes to ensure they are brought to justice."
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks
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