Pro­lific meat thief tar­geted M&S and Asda su­per­mar­kets

Ex­pen­sive items taken from two town shops

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - NEWS - By Sean Ax­tell sax­[email protected]­m­ @SeanAx­tell

A thief stole hun­dreds of pounds worth of meat from su­per­mar­kets to fund his heroin habit, a court heard.

Wil­liam Gre­gory, 33, would sneak ex­pen­sive meat from an M&S Food­hall into his car­rier bag in plain view of CCTV.

Folke­stone Mag­is­trates’ Court heard Gre­gory stole £125 worth of meat from the Food­hall on the War­ren Re­tail Park, Ash­ford, on Novem­ber 12.

He went on to steal £445 worth of meat from M&S on Novem­ber 27 on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

The court heard Gre­gory also tar­geted Asda in Kim­berly Way on Novem­ber 11, steal­ing an undis­closed amount of meat.

M&S staff mon­i­tored CCTV footage after notic­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dip in stock, pros­e­cu­tor Neil Sweeney ex­plained.

In mit­i­ga­tion, Mark Traf­ford said there was “no proof” the stolen stock mounted to £570, as claimed by M&S.

But Mr Sweeney quipped the amount is likely cor­rect ref­er­enc­ing the com­pany’s fa­mous ad­vert: “Be­cause this wasn’t just any meat – it was Marks and Spencer meat.”

He ex­plained: “At M&S the sus­pect was seen plac­ing var­i­ous meats in­side a car­rier bag and leaves with­out try­ing to pay.”

Mr Traf­ford said: “We have seen no proof the meat costs as much as M&S are say­ing.”

Mr Traf­ford said his client “did all that he could to sur­vive” and the batches of meat had been sold for heroin.

Speak­ing to the chair­man of the bench, Mr Sweeney re­torted: “M&S ini­tially found out about the theft be­cause they no­ticed a loss in their stock.

“You have to bear in mind it wasn’t just any old meat madam, it was Marks and Spencer meat,” to laugh­ter in the court­room.

He added Asda also col­lared Gre­gory, who is on Uni­ver­sal Credit, after ex­am­in­ing CCTV footage.

Dressed in a dark hoodie and blue jeans, Gre­gory, who is reg­is­tered with the courts as no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to four charges of theft and was or­dered to pay £50 com­pen­sa­tion for each theft.

He was also given an eightweek prison sen­tence sus­pended for six months dur­ing a hear­ing last Wed­nes­day.

It will run con­cur­rently with a pre­vi­ous com­mu­nity or­der for a sim­i­lar of­fence. The chair­man of the bench said: “This means that if you of­fend within this pe­riod it is very likely you will end up with a cus­to­dial sen­tence.”

‘At M&S the sus­pect was seen plac­ing var­i­ous meats in­side a car­rier bag...this wasn’t just any meat – it was Marks & Spencer meat...’ - Neil Sweeney, pros­e­cut­ing

The M&S Food­hall - which opened in 2017 on the War­ren Re­tail Park - was tar­geted

Gre­gory also tar­geted Ash­ford’s Asda store

Gre­gory out­side court

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