A Harold Hill man has been jailed after going on a shoplifting spree at Essex stores over a 10-month period.

Mark Woodhall, 43, of Hilldene Avenue, admitted to stealing more than £2,000 worth of food and alcohol from shops across Brentwood.

He pleaded guilty to 21 thefts that took place between July 2022 and May 2023.

The value of stolen items increased gradually over these months, Essex Police said, and Woodhall began by stealing a case of beers amounting to £11 in July 2022.

On February 14 this year, this value peaked when he took more than £400 worth of alcohol and meat from just one shop.

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Officers from Brentwood Local Policing Team reviewed the reports and available CCTV footage and identified that there was one man behind all the incidents.

Woodhall was arrested and charged with 21 counts of theft.

He admitted all the charges at Southend-on-Sea Magistrates' Court on Monday (August 7) and was jailed for 16 weeks. An application for a Criminal Behaviour Order has also been made by Essex Police.

Sgt Phoebe Dawson said: “Business theft is not a victimless crime. We know that shoplifting has repercussions for any business and their staff.

“We will work with colleagues across the force, including the Business Crime Team, to make sure those responsible are held to account.”