Shoplifter shoves over elderly women as he steals meat from supermarket, before assaulting female police officers

17 May 2024, 12:23

Shoplifter pushes elderly women over during theft and assaults police officers

By Kit Heren

This is the moment a shoplifter shoved over two elderly women as he made a bid to escape from a supermarket with a joint of meat.

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Stephen Jack Thomas Wray, of no fixed abode, entered Iceland in the County Durham town of Peterlee in April, and took a leg of lamb from one of the freezers.

CCTV footage from the shop shows him sprinted for the door, knocking two women in their 70s to the ground in the process.

Both needed hospital treatment.

Police later found the 23-year-old "heavily intoxicated" and arrested him for theft and assault.

Read more: Gone in 60 seconds: Stores targeted by thieves nearly ‘once every minute’ as shoplifting hits record high

Read more: 'We have to accept police aren't interested': M&S boss says company spends 'a lot of money' to stop shoplifting itself

Stephen Jack Thomas Wray
Stephen Jack Thomas Wray. Picture: Durham Police

At first, he was barely responsive and police said they were going to call an ambulance.

He later became agitated during the arrest and attacked two female police officers.

Wray told police that he had "no comment" when asked if he felt remorse for his attacks.

He was charged with two counts of assault, two counts of assaulting a police officer, and theft.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court on Friday, May 10, he was sent to prison for three years and eight months.

Figures released in April showed shoplifting in England and Wales had hit the highest level in over 20 years, with one theft occurring nearly every minute.

Shoplifting offences increased by 37% (to 430,104 offences) compared with the year ending December 2022 (315,040 offences).

This works out as roughly 1,000 shops being targeted by thieves everyday - or nearly one shop every minute.

It is the highest figure since current police recording practices began for the year ending March 2003.

This is up 37% from 315,040 in the previous 12 months.

The number of offences involving theft from the person stood at 125,563 in 2023, up 18% from 106,606 in 2022, and is the highest level since 2004 (137,154).

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