More than 60 new charges were authorised in December following investigations carried out by a single Kent Police team.

In total, the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad issued 67 charges to suspected criminals for offences including robbery, fraud, theft and burglary. Many of these individuals have been remanded in custody, ahead of future court dates.

Prolific thief stole jewellery and mobile phones worth more than £100,000

In addition to the new enforcement action, several offenders were also jailed – including a prolific thief who stole jewellery and mobile phones worth more than £100,000.

Twenty-four arrests were also made over the same time period.

Detective Inspector Darren Reynolds, who leads the team, said: ‘The purpose of our team is to provide the best possible service to people who have unfortunately been targeted by offenders who think nothing of stealing from other people and, on some occasions, using violence. 

‘We primarily investigate burglaries and robberies, but these two offences alone can be quite varied in how they are carried out.

‘A theme we have seen from the results achieved last month is the use of distraction techniques, which is highlighted particularly well in our successful prosecution of a woman who stole jewellery and mobile phones from unsuspecting shop staff across the county.

‘Over the course of her offending, she would often build up the victim’s trust before making subtle movements to steal property as soon as an opportunity presented itself.

‘This type of offending can be quite well rehearsed and difficult for victims of crime to spot.’

The serial thief was a woman in her 20s who stole from shop staff at locations in Dover, Whitstable, Tenterden, Maidstone and Gillingham. The combined value of items stolen was in excess of £100,000 and she was jailed for four-and-a-half years.  

Also jailed was a robber who assaulted a man in Chatham High Street before rifling through their pockets as they lay injured on the floor. He then made a running jump, which saw both of his feet land on the victim’s head. He was jailed for four and a half years.

A Chatham burglar who targeted three homes within a 30-minute time window was also jailed for two years and four months. He handed himself in to Kent Police after the Crime Squad released a picture of him targeting a home to the media.

Among those charged and put before the courts in December is a Canterbury woman who is said to have stolen a wallet from a man in Canterbury after gaining his trust and entering his home. The victim’s bank card was then used in two fraudulent transactions and the suspect has been charged with theft and two counts of fraud. She is next due to appear at Margate Magistrates’ Court in late January.

A man from Minster-on-Sea was also charged with burgling a Sittingbourne home after he allegedly befriended a man and asked to enter their home to rinse out a baby’s bottle. A wallet is said to have been stolen from inside and the suspect has been released on bail to appear at Maidstone Crown Court in early January.

Knifepoint robbery

A Maidstone man has also been remanded in custody following a report he attempted to rob a person in the county town at knifepoint. No items were stolen, and he was promptly identified as a suspect by a vigilant PCSO. He has been remanded in custody to appear at Maidstone Crown Court in early January.

Four charges were also authorised against a Chatham man, who is alleged to have robbed a woman at knifepoint in Queenborough. He was also an outstanding suspect for a shoplifting offence and is said to have been found in possession of amphetamine. He has been remanded in custody and is next due to appear at Maidstone Crown Court in mid-January.

By Ed