Prolific shoplifter jailed

A prolific shoplifter has been jailed after pleading guilty to more than 30 incidents of theft, common assault and public order offences.

Christopher French, 34, of no fixed abode, was suspected of several shoplifting offences in Westcliff-on-Sea, reportedly targeting the BP garage in West Road and the Sainsburys in Hamlet Court Road.

All the offences took place between November 2023 and January 2024.

Following an altercation with a member of staff at Sainsburys, French was arrested on 18 January, charged and appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court the following day.

He pleaded guilty to 34 counts of theft, two counts of common assault and one public order offence.

French was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison, as well as being given a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which bans him from entering an BP and Sainsburys in Essex.

Sergeant Stephen Wells said: “French now faces a lengthy ban from these establishments, and will face a further prison sentence if he breaches this court order.”