An aggressive Maidstone shoplifter who threatened to stab two security guards has been jailed within days of being arrested.

On Sunday 18 September 2022, John Devall went into Superdrug in Week Street and left the store without paying for a quantity of electric toothbrushes.

Local officers later examined CCTV footage of the incident and identified Devall as the offender.

On Thursday 22 September, he returned to the town centre and went into Boots the Chemist in King Street.

He removed electronic tags from two boxes containing a shaver and charging unit before attempting to leave the store without paying.

Devall was stopped by two security guards and, after stolen items were recovered, became abusive threatening to stab them before he left the scene.

Officers actively searching for Devall located and arrested him in the town the following day.

Devall, of London Road, Maidstone was later charged with two counts of theft and two counts of threatening behaviour with intent to cause a person to fear violence would be used. He was then remanded in custody.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 24 September and was sentenced to 208 days in prison.

The jail term included the activation of a suspended sentence for handling stolen property and a hate aggravated public order offence. Devall will also have to pay compensation to the victims along with court costs.

District Commander for Maidstone, Chief Inspector Mark McLennan said: ‘Devall is a prolific criminal who has been targeting shops in our town centre. While the security guards he threatened did not see a knife, his actions towards them were abhorrent and he was swiftly detained.

‘Devall is now serving a prison sentence within days of his arrest. My town centre officers will continue to work closely with businesses in Maidstone to ensure anybody who targets their premises is identified and promptly brought to justice.’

By Ed

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