West Kent police out in force

A shoplifting and anti-social behaviour crackdown by police has led to charges and numerous arrests in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in the run up to Christmas.

Local beat officers and the Neighbourhood Task Force took to the town centres between Monday 11 and Friday 15 December 2023, to provide a high-visibility presence aimed at protecting retailers in the run up to Christmas and tackling known offenders.

Over the course of the week, patrols spoke with business owners about reducing the risk of being targeted by shoplifters. They also carried out stop and searches on known offenders and focussed efforts to locate outstanding suspects. The operation resulted in the recovery of stolen property, nine arrests, and a number of charges.


A man from Hadlow, was charged with shoplifting following the alleged theft of hats and gloves worth more than £500 from a store in Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells. The 52-year-old has since been bailed to appear before Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 16 January 2024.

Charges were also brought against offenders for two further counts of shoplifting in the town centres.

As well as deterring shop thieves the week-long operation included a greater focus on tackling anti-social behaviour.

Among other suspects detained was a man in his 20s, accused of stealing a pensioner’s mobility scooter from Leigh Road in Tonbridge, who has since been released on bail pending further investigation.

Arrests were also made for assault, drug driving, and public order offences.

West Kent’s local policing Chief Inspector Stuart Paul, said:

‘Shoplifting and anti-social behaviour affects the community in numerous ways, from forcing businesses to raise prices to compensate for losses, to creating an undesirable atmosphere for residents as well as visitors to our towns.

‘Kent Police takes all incidents of theft and anti-social behaviour seriously and we encourage business owners as well as members of the public to continue reporting crimes to ensure we have a full picture of any concerns within our towns, as well as residential areas, and tackle them robustly.’

By Ed

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