A shoplifter who threatened staff with a needle and a knife at stores across Swale has been jailed. Lucille Willett, 29, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to 14 offences in June 2019 and was sentenced to 19 months’ imprisonment at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 9 January 2020.
At around 7pm on 12 June 2019, Willett went into a shop in the Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne and filled her bag with boxes of baby formula milk. As she went to leave the store she was confronted by a member of staff who tried to take the bag from her. Willett then pulled out a needle and told the staff member to let go or she would stab him with it. She proceeded to swipe at the victim with the needle before leaving the store with the goods.
On 18 June, she threatened a shop security guard with a knife before stealing 13 bottles of alcohol from a store in North Lane, Faversham. Willett committed a further 10 shoplifting offences in stores across Faversham, stealing alcohol, cosmetics, clothing and bathing products. During one of the incidents, on 27 June at a store in Preston Street, she assaulted a member of staff by hitting her in the face before running away with stolen products in her bag. Willett was arrested later that day after she was spotted by officers in St Nicholas Road. She was charged with threatening another with a bladed article, possession of a blade, assault and 11 charges of theft between 12 and 27 June 2019.
Investigating officer, PC Brian Mitchell of North Division CID said: ‘Willett targeted shops across Swale and was quite blatant in her approach. She threatened staff with weapons in order to steal whatever she wanted. During one incident she returned to the same shop three times on the same day in order to steal alcohol. Thankfully we were able to identify her and put a stop to her relentless offending so she no longer poses a threat to shops in the area and, most importantly, their staff members.’