Man jailed after stealing more than £10,000 worth of cigarettes from stores across Cheshire
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A man who stole more than £10,000 worth of cigarettes from stores across Cheshire has been jailed.
Edward Warde appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday 28 January where he was sentenced to three years in prison.
The 35-year-old of Warrington Road, Runcorn, had earlier pleaded guilty to theft, driving while disqualified and assault.
The court heard how between Wednesday 29 September and Tuesday 26 October 2021, Warde carried out 24 high value thefts at convenience stores across Cheshire.
On each occasion, he would enter the shops and pick up some low value items, such as crisps or a bottle of pop.
He would then approach the counter and request large quantities of cigarettes and tobacco, which he would place into a carrier bag as the items were being scanned out.
However, just before he was due to pay he would distract the store assistants by requesting another item from behind the till - at which point he would flee the store, before making off in a car with false number plates – despite the fact that he was disqualified from driving.
During one of the incidents at a store in Winsford, Warde also assaulted a store worker who attempted to stop him fleeing the store.
His crime spree was brought to end after detectives from Northwich Beat Initiative Team traced him to address in Runcorn using ANPR data and CCTV footage.
Following the sentencing Detective Constable Claire Heatley, who led the investigation, said: “During our investigation we linked Warde to at least 24 thefts across Cheshire which resulted in the theft of £11,733.93 worth of cigarettes and tobacco.
“These included shops in Winsford, Runcorn, Warrington, Holmes Chapel, Northwich, Runcorn and Widnes.
“Thankfully, as a result of our enquiries we have now been able to bring his crime spree to an end and he is now facing the consequences of his actions.”
A 14-year-old boy from Runcorn was also charged as part of the investigation.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court in November 2021 where he was handed a six month youth referral order.