A brazen shoplifter who was caught on CCTV stealing from Sainsbury's in front of shoppers and staff has been banned from every branch in the UK.
Joseph Tait, 38, repeatedly targeted two supermarkets in Heaton and Newcastle earlier this year, where he stole £2,500 worth of meat and cheese.
A court heard he also helped himself to drinks and snacks from the stores.
Shoppers and staff reported Tait to police, who searched CCTV to catch him stealing.
He has now been barred from entering all 1,400 branches of Sainsbury’s in the country until October 2025.
Tait was given the ban as part of a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) when he appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court last month.
Tait, of no fixed address, admitted four theft charges and asked for 22 more offences to be taken into consideration.
The court heard he has numerous convictions for theft, burglary and possession of drugs.
The CBO prevents Tait from entering any Sainsbury’s store in the country and requires him to leave any retail premises if asked to do so by staff.
Northumbria Police have released footage of Tait ransacking the shelves of a Sainsbury's in Chillingham Road in Heaton.
The clip shows him grabbing armfuls of chilled food from the fridges while shoppers watch on.
Sergeant Gary Sharpe, of Northumbria Police, said: “We are pleased that the CBO has been implemented and Tait is now banned from setting foot inside the shops.
“Law-abiding members of the public including those working in these businesses should not have to endure this sort of behaviour with it impacting their day-to-day lives and these new conditions mean they will no longer have to.
What are the current punishments for shoplifting in the UK? (Yahoo News UK)
“Tait’s persistent criminality has been an increasing concern to residents and businesses in the Heaton area and should he choose to ignore the conditions of the order, he risks further punishment, including a custodial sentence.
“We would also like to thank all of the members of the public and shop staff who assisted in our investigation which has ultimately helped to secure the granting of the CBO.”
Why has shoplifting increased so much?
Shoplifting offences recorded by police in England and Wales have risen by 25% in the past year, ONS figures show.
Some 365,164 offences were recorded in the year to June 2023, up a quarter on the previous 12 months.
According to retailers the spike in thefts over the past year is mainly being caused by rising criminal gangs, who are involved in more organised criminal activities such as theft and shoplifting.
There has also been an increase in those who steal due to necessity, which has been encouraged by the increasing cost of living.
The traditional shoplifters also continue to steal to feed their drug habits or alcohol addictions.
What powers do the police have to stop shoplifting?
Shoplifting refers to taking goods from a shop without paying for them first.
If caught shoplifting, a person will either will be charged with theft under section 1 of the Theft Act 1986; or, if the goods stolen are worth less than £200, for low-value shoplifting under section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.
In Northern Ireland, the law regarding shoplifting is outlined in the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969.
Currently, shoplifting does not automatically lead to time in prison. If the goods are worth less than £200, the maximum sentence is six months in prison, but this type of offence is usually dealt with by issuing a postal fine.
Anything over £200 could lead to a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
However, the actual sentence depends on the value of the goods stolen and whether the offender has any previous convictions.
In addition to criminal penalties, shoplifters may also face civil penalties, such as being banned from the store or having to pay compensation to the store for any damage or loss caused.
The 2021 Protection of Workers Act is an Act of the Scottish Parliament to create an offence of assaulting, threatening or abusing retail workers, and to provide for a statutory aggravation of that offence where the retail worker is enforcing a statutory age restriction.
This does not apply in the rest of the UK.