Rise of 40 per cent in Maidstone shoplifting detection rates
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A crackdown on shoplifting in Maidstone has seen detection rates for offences rise almost 40 per cent in a year.
Between August 2022 and July 2023, a total of 286 reported shop thefts were solved, an increase from the previous year of 207.
Enforcement by town centre patrols has also contributed to an increase in charges for shoplifting, of almost 52 per cent. Over the past 12 months 231 charges were authorised, compared to 152 in the previous period.
Maidstone Chief Inspector Mark McLellan said: ‘We remain determined to protect businesses in Maidstone from those who see them as easy pickings, and it is great to see the work we are doing is providing some really encouraging results. 'Both high visibility and plain clothed officers constantly patrol our town centre, and they work closely with shops and partners to effectively identify and pursue repeat offenders.’
As well as securing criminal convictions, longer term measures to deter prolific and repeat offenders include the enforcement of Criminal Behaviour Orders.
These orders restrict the actions of persistent criminals and any breaches can lead to a swift arrest. Officers are assisted in this work by partners which include Street Ambassadors, and through means such as MaidSafe radio.
During the latest enforcement across July 2023, a total of 18 charges were made which related to shoplifting offences in Maidstone.
These included the following:
Lisa Wallace, 50, of Chestnut Close, Maidstone was charged with stealing clothing and shoes from Next on 28 July, worth almost £350. She was also charged with the theft of six pairs of sunglasses, worth nearly £2,000 from Leightons, in Hempstead Valley.
Vanessa Hamelton, 49, of Farleigh Lane, Maidstone was charged on 21 July with three counts of shoplifting, after a series of offences on 17 May in Poundland, Boots and the British Heart Foundation.
Kerry Donoghue, 47, of Jasmine Close, East Malling is also charged. This was in connection with allegations she targeted Marks and Spencer on at least ten separate occasions between February and March this year, when meat and alcohol totalling more than £4,000 was stolen.
Chief Inspector McLellan added: ’The introduction last year of the Maidstone Town Centre Task Force has further bolstered our efforts to protect businesses from criminals, and there will be no let-up in our efforts to prosecute those who see shoplifting as part of a criminal lifestyle. 'It is never a victimless crime and it can have a drastic effect on businesses, who often have little choice but to pass the cost of crime onto their customers.'