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Serial thief sentenced to four years for offences in Bromley, Petts Wood and Orpington

PUBLISHED: 14:44 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:44 14 March 2014

John Gwillim-Jones, 60, targeted elderly residents across the borough of Bromley

John Gwillim-Jones, 60, targeted elderly residents across the borough of Bromley

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A serial thief who would snatch bags from the supermarket trolleys of unsuspecting shoppers has been jailed for four years.

John Gwillim-Jones pled guilty to 39 theft offences at Reading Crown Court on March 11John Gwillim-Jones pled guilty to 39 theft offences at Reading Crown Court on March 11

John Gwillim-Jones, 60, of no fixed address, committed 39 offences across south-east England, including Bromley, Petts Wood and Orpington.

He pleaded guilty to the offences at Reading Crown Court on March 11.

He would remove bags left in trolleys, before walking off with them when his victims were distracted.

Using the rail network, Gwillim-Jones would travel around the country often targeting stores near mainline stations.

John Gwillim-Jones used the rail network to travel around the country often targeting stores near mainline stationsJohn Gwillim-Jones used the rail network to travel around the country often targeting stores near mainline stations

He would often commit the thefts in the afternoon.

Gwillim-Jones, who had 146 convictions before being arrested, was described as a “professional” thief by the trial judge.

Det Sgt Jim Herron, from Bromley Police’s CID, said: “Gwillim-Jones was totally non-descript.

“He was 60 years old and to all intents and purposes looked like a grandfather out shopping, easily blending into the store environment.

“He moved about unnoticed as is common with handbag thieves, looking like a normal shopper and stealing with impunity.

“In a lot of the offences, house keys, mobile phones and treasured personal items were stolen, causing the victim a considerable amount of inconvenience.”

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