A prolific shop thief has been jailed just 24 hours after he was tracked by officers to a railway station near Tunbridge Wells

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Home Breaking A prolific shop thief has been jailed just 24 hours after he was tracked by officers to a railway station near Tunbridge Wells

A prolific shop thief has been jailed just 24 hours after he was 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. Harrison was detained by patrols on Monday 17 June 2024, and when his bag was searched eight bottles of spirits were recovered.

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.

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

On Wednesday 19 June, Quinsey pleaded guilty at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court to a charge of theft. He 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, of Bramley Road, 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 a 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.’

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