A prolific shoplifter who attacked workers trying to stop her has been jailed for six months and banned from three chains across Essex for two years.

Carleah Day, of Long Road, Canvey, admitted 18 counts of shop theft and four assaults on retail and security staff – three counts of common assault and one of assault by beating – when she appeared before Basildon magistrates on Thursday.

The 43-year-old stole about £2,500 of everyday items, including meat, cheese, ready meals, coffee, alcohol, toiletries and cleaning products, mainly from the BP garage in East Mayne, Basildon.

She also targeted the former Wilko at the town’s Westgate Retail Park, the B&M and Pets at Home stores in Pitsea High Road and the Co-op in Canvey Road, Canvey.

Day had attacked retail workers who had spotted her stealing. The offences were committed during a seven-month period between March 18 and October 17 last year.

The court was told she had a long list of convictions for dishonesty, theft and displaying aggression towards retail staff dating back more than 20 years.

Day was jailed for three months each for two of the common assaults, to run consecutively, and one month for each of the other offences, to run concurrently.

Magistrates also imposed a two-year criminal behaviour order (CBO) which runs for two years from 7 March 2024.

This bans her from entering any BP garage, B&M store and Co-op store in Essex and from entering Pets at Home in Pitsea High Road.

PC Alex Plakhtienko, of Essex Police's specialist business crime team, said: “The cost of shoplifting affects everyone, whether it’s the retail staff, the business itself or customers who may suffer higher prices as a result.

“And Day’s behaviour has caused shop staff to feel fear and intimidation. This is unacceptable and something which Essex Police will not tolerate.

“Criminal behaviour orders are designed to deter re-offending and address specific victimisation. We will not hesitate to apply to the courts to have them applied where necessary.

“In Day’s case, we sought to protect stores she targeted for a significant period and the magistrates agreed.”

Day was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154.