Worthing shoplifter jailed after 'crime spree'

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A prolific shoplifter, who targeted businesses in Worthing, has been jailed.

Sussex Police said Joanne Cook was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment – when she appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 5 – for 17 incidents and for activating a suspended sentence.

Cook was sentenced to 26 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months when she appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court on April 27 for six shoplifting offences between April 10 and April 26, police said.

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A spokesperson added: “She activated her suspended sentence when it was heard she stole a total of £6,672.07 worth of stock across 17 different incidents spanning between March 4 and June 1.

Joanne Cook was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment – when she appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 5 – for 17 incidents and for activating a suspended sentence. Photo: Sussex PoliceJoanne Cook was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment – when she appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 5 – for 17 incidents and for activating a suspended sentence. Photo: Sussex Police
Joanne Cook was sentenced to 52 weeks’ imprisonment – when she appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 5 – for 17 incidents and for activating a suspended sentence. Photo: Sussex Police

“Items included food, jewellery and alcohol.”

Police named the shops Cook targeted in her ‘shoplifting spree’ as:

– Sainsbury’s, Lyons Farm, Sompting;

– Paydens Pharmacy, Broadwater;

– Tesco Express, Goring Road;

– Co-op, Test Road, Sompting;

– Co-op, Tarring Road;

– Tesco, Dominion Road

Cook, 35, of no fixed address, was arrested on June 4 and later charged with 17 counts of shoplifting and five counts of breaching a Criminal Behaviour Order, police said.

Police said the conditions of her CBO are:

– Not to remain on any retail premises within the county of Sussex after being asked to leave;

– Not to enter any co-op in Sussex;

– Not to enter Sainsbury’s, Lyons Farm;

– Not to enter any Tesco store in West Sussex;

– Not to enter Morrisons Daily, Broadwater Road;

– Not to enter Martins / McColls, Broadwater;

– Not to enter Paydens Pharmacy

Cook pleaded guilty to all 17 offences, police said.

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Sergeant Andy Bryant added: “This is a brilliant result for a prolific shoplifter in Worthing.

“There was a lot of hard work from our teams to secure this sentence for Cook and I am delighted with the outcome to curb her offending.

“No shop worker should have to deal with theft, and Sussex Police has a stern stance on business crime. We will arrest, charge and put suspects before the courts.

“Retail crime is hugely impactful to businesses and we will aim to ensure we crack down on thieves like Cook.”

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Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne also issued a statement.

She said: “Thanks to the robust work of Sussex Police and their dedicated Business Crime Team, another prolific shoplifter has been taken off our streets.

“Despite having previously been imprisoned and subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order, this thief thought she could get away with another huge shoplifting spree that cost thousands and caused distress to staff and customers.

“The arrest and charge of the offender sends a clear message to others who steal from retailers in Sussex – you will not get away with it. Our improved approach between shops and the police means it is only a matter of time until you will be caught.”