A Farnham woman has been jailed for five months and banned from Aldershot for five years after stealing items worth more than £600 from stores in the town.

Abbie Folkes, 31, of East Street, admitted seven counts of theft from a shop at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on December 15.

It comes after meat products, bedding and fragrances were stolen from Lidl, Bargain Buys and Boots in Aldershot between November 30 and December 12.

As well as a custodial sentence, Folkes also received a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which was approved for the maximum period of five years.

Officers from the Aldershot Neighbourhood Policing Team put together the application for the CBO which detailed Folkes’ previous shoplifting offences.

It was approved in court and means she is banned from entering Aldershot until December 2028.

Sergeant Rob Tiller, from the Aldershot Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Abbie Folkes is a prolific shoplifter who brazenly stole items from a number of stores in Aldershot.

“Her behaviour and disregard for the law had a significant impact on various local businesses and retailers in the town.

“I hope this result sends a message to offenders that this level of behaviour and criminality in the local community will not be tolerated.

“Not only has she been put behind bars, she has also been banned from entering Aldershot for the maximum period of five years.

“Our officers will look at all of the options available to us so we ensure we continue to relentlessly pursue criminals who behave in this way.”

The sentencing of Folkes dame after official  figures showed that shoplifting offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales had risen by a quarter in the past year.

The data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) came after warnings from major retailers about the rising cost of theft from their stores.

The Co-op said its food business lost £33 million in the first six months of 2023.

Some 365,164 shoplifting offences were recorded by police in the year to June, up 25 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The figure is two per cent above the 359,236 offences in the pre-pandemic year of 2019/20, but not as high as the 375,350 offences in 2018/19. 

ONS data shows total police-recorded theft rose by 10 per cent in the year to June 2023, which is still below pre-pandemic levels.

The government has come under increasing pressure to tackle the rise in shoplifting, which has been blamed on the cost of living crisis and organised crime.

It has been criticised by the Liberal Democrats who claimed that more than 200,000 shoplifting cases went unsolved over the space of 12 months.

The Lib Dems said the government is “totally falling” to tackle a “growing crime epidemic”.

However, a Home Office spokeswoman said charging rates for shoplifting are up by “almost a third” in the past year.

According to figures analysed by the Lib Dems, 205,676 shoplifting cases were closed without a suspect being identified in the year to July last year. About 15 per cent of 362,809 cases led to a charged or summons.

Reducing shoplifting in the town is a priority of the Farnham Business Improvement District.