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More than 50 charges have been brought against suspects in Maidstone linked to repeat offences including shoplifting, assaults and spitting.

The offences are all connected to cases investigated by the town’s Victim Based Crime Team (VBCT), which is focussed on bringing named individuals to justice.

Police report that in total, the VBCT had 53 charges authorised during September and October 2022, linked to investigations involving almost 100 suspects. These included two men connected to a series of bulk thefts of alcohol from Sainsbury’s stores in Aylesford and Maidstone. A man of 27 was charged with five thefts since April this year. Another aged 26, was also charged with a shoplifting during September.

VBCT officers work relentlessly to hold offenders to account at the earliest opportunity, in order to deter and reduce the negative impact criminals can have upon local communities and businesses in Maidstone.

Suspects are often repeat and prolific offenders, such as a 45-year-old, who on 19 October 2022 attended a homeless support centre in Church Street, Maidstone where he abused and spat at council staff. He was charged on the following day and a week later pleaded guilty to public order offences at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court. He was immediately sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a £154 victim surcharge.

What it says on the tin

District Commander for Maidstone, Chief Inspector Mark McLellan, said: ‘The Victim Based Crime Team is exactly what it says on the tin. It enhances our ability to focus on victims even more, with dedicated staff that can deal with often complex cases which really matter. They continue to prioritise securing charges and convictions at the earliest opportunity, as evidenced by another recent example of a prolific shoplifter. He faced instant justice in October, after he was jailed for eight months within hours of being arrested.

‘I do hope the proactive work carried out by our VBCT officers provides reassurance to Maidstone residents, that we are committed to protecting businesses and neighbourhoods from a small minority of people whose actions can cause a disproportionally large volume of crime. I would also like to thank the fantastic support we receive from the local community in helping us detect and deter offenders targeting our town. You can be our eyes and ears, so please remember to always report anything suspicious. This really assists in targeting criminals, hot spots of crime and bringing those offenders to justice.’

By Ed

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