A thief who repeatedly stole items from cars in the Folkestone and Hawkinge areas has been jailed.

Lewis Bennett, 27, took handbags and wallets from vehicles before fraudulently using victims’ bank cards.

He admitted twenty charges at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 30 October 2020 and was jailed for three and a half years.

Bennett broke into a caravan in Dymchurch in the early hours of Wednesday 12 August and stole a woman’s handbag from the kitchen area. He went on to use a stolen bank card in petrol stations and corner shops in Chatham before the card was stopped by the bank.

The following month, on Tuesday 1 September, Bennett broke into a vehicle in Hawkinge and took a wallet and other items. He used a stolen bank card in a newsagent in Canterbury.

The next day, Bennett stole another handbag, this time from the footwell of a car in Hawkinge, before using a bank card to pay for a taxi, takeaway food and online bingo.

He stole two more handbags from cars in the Folkestone area between Tuesday 1 September and Friday 6 September, again using stolen cards at petrol stations, corner shops and online gambling websites.

Kent Police officers tracked Bennett down to a tent near Hawkinge and he was arrested on Sunday 8 September.

He was also sentenced for an incident on Tuesday 28 July, when he was found in possession of a BB gun after sending threatening messages to a woman in Folkestone.

A thorough review of CCTV from near the crime scenes led to him being charged with multiple counts of theft and fraud, burglary, possession of cannabis and a driving offence, as well as possession of an imitation firearm, malicious communications and a public order offence in relation to the July incident.

Detective Constable Laura Corbin, Kent Police’s investigating officer, said: ‘Bennett is a prolific thief who repeatedly broke into cars without a moment’s thought for the impact on his victims.

‘I am pleased that our thorough investigation led to him being charged with and admitting such a large number of offences, and that the resulting sentence will mean he’ll not be committing any more crime for a considerable amount of time.’

By Ed

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