THE majority of more than 30 people arrested across the county on suspicion of shoplifting  have been charged with a total of 99 offences of shop theft, as well as two assaults.

Altogether, 33 people were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting across Essex last week.

Seven people were arrested in the Colchester district, with six in Southend.

There were four arrests in each of Basildon and Chelmsford; three in each of Braintree, Epping and Tendring; two in Harlow; and one in Thurrock.

Since January 1, officers have made a total of 221 arrests for shop theft.

One man arrested last week admitted 21 counts of shop theft from the Co-op store in Old Harlow High Street between December 18, 2023 and February 11.

A Chelmsford woman was jailed for a year for stealing from shops and for damaging a police cell. 

Another Chelmsford woman has been charged with 12 counts of shop theft and one of attempted theft from John Lewis in the city’s Bond Street, it is alleged.

Gazette: Action - Police made more than 33 arrests for suspicion of shoplifting last weekAction - Police made more than 33 arrests for suspicion of shoplifting last week (Image: Newsquest)

Meanwhile, two Basildon brothers have been sentenced for stealing from shops in Pitsea and South Ockendon. 

One was jailed and the other received a suspended prison sentence.

Three people were cautioned for shop theft.

Cases involving three others are still being investigated and six arrests resulted in no further action.

Sgt Christian Denning, of the specialist Business Crime Team, said: “It is important that we concentrate on the people causing the most harm in our society so our approach to shoplifting is to concentrate on the individuals committing the offences.

“Officers work hard to gather the evidence we need to get persistent offenders charged with their multiple crimes and put before the courts.

“This, in turn, means the courts have the information they need to hand out appropriate sentences.

“But, of course, we need the help of business owners, retail staff and the public to provide that evidence.

“So please, if you have evidence such as CCTV or dashcam footage or have information about any crime, please tell us. You can report online at or, alternatively ring us on 101.

“If it’s a crime in progress, ring 999.

“We also provide businesses with specialist crime prevention advice so, if you want to find out more, please visit our webpages at”

In addition, five people tested positive in custody last week for cocaine, crack cocaine or heroin.

They will be required to attend an assessment, with one of the three drugs treatment services the force works with.