Prolific shoplifter jailed for thefts in Southend and Westcliff

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A prolific shoplifter who knocked over an elderly woman while fleeing from a shop has been jailed for nearly two years.

The 81-year-old victim suffered a broken pelvis after Jack Hills ran into her and knocked her over while fleeing The Range in Short Street on February 27.

It was one of a string of crimes Hills had committed over a four month period. He stole more than £1,000 worth of food, alcohol, tools and other items from shops across Southend and Westcliff between last December and March this year.

Hills, of Westborough Road, Westcliff, was arrested on April 1 after being identified through CCTV images and other enquiries.

He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on April 2, where he admitted causing grievous bodily harm, 25 thefts, one attempted theft, two breaches of a community behaviour order and possession of cannabis.

The 26-year-old returned to Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday May 7, when he was jailed for 23 months and ordered to pay a £149 victim surcharge.

Detective Constable Kathrine Burton, of Southend CID, said: “Hills is a prolific thief who at the time of his offending had not spared any thought for the consequences of his actions on other people.

“I’m pleased with the sentence as, although the assault wasn’t intentional, the reckless behaviour has caused an injury to an innocent passer-by who is now limited to the physical activities she can undertake. For her, this has had, and still has, a long recovery period for her.

“I would like to thank the key witness who came forward to identify Hills as, without him, Hills would not have been brought to justice, nor been fully aware of the repercussions of his actions.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]