A prolific shoplifter has been banned from every Waitrose, Aldi, Asda, Co-Op and Lidl in the county, following a long campaign of theft from the grocery aisles.
Stephen Ewens, of Oak View, Edenbridge, repeatedly stole goods from stores in his home town before targeting neighbouring communities.
Ewens, 37, was originally prohibited from entering stores in Sevenoaks after being repeatedly prosecuted for offences relating to thefts from stores in Edenbridge, between 4 September 2020 and 25 January 2022.
After a five-year criminal behaviour order was passed to prevent him from returning to the affected businesses, Ewens began offending in neighbouring areas, including Tonbridge and Dartford.
But a new court order now prevents the criminal from entering any premises belonging to Waitrose, Aldi, Asda, Co-Op, or Lidl in Kent, as well as Sainsbury’s in Tonbridge and Dartford.
Ewens appeared before Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on 3 October 2023 where he pleaded guilty to two further counts of theft.
The 37-year-old was sentenced before the same court last week to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, and 150 hours’ unpaid work.
His existing criminal behaviours order was extended to a county-wide ban.
Investigating officer, PC Jules Edwards, said: “The effect of shoplifting is not solely felt by the businesses who fall victim to such crimes.
“The impact presents wider issues for the community, for example, in the rising costs of essential items as shops try to counteract their financial losses.
“Kent Police takes all reports of shoplifting seriously and actively encourages members of the public to notify us of such offences.
“We hope that the robust response to Ewen’s offending serves to reassure traders that we are proactively targeting shoplifters across Kent and putting measures in place to protect their livelihoods.”