A thief hid from police in a garden shed after he stole nearly £5,000 worth of items from supermarkets.

Stephen Wood, who stole hoovers and a TV from shops across East Sussex, was found by police in April after they issued an appeal for information about his whereabouts and offered a £1,000 cash reward.

Police had identified Wood as being responsible for multiple shopliftings in the district and attempts to arrest him were ongoing.

A person called the police when they found him hiding in their garden shed.

Wood was then arrested and charged with 21 counts of theft. This included multiple thefts from Tesco in North Street, Hailsham, and Co-op stores in Heathfield, Peacehaven, Bexhill, Horsebridge, Seaford and Newhaven.

In offences in February, March and April, Wood stole items including hoovers, a television, boxes of hair straighteners and electric razors, alcohol, cigarettes, toys, and bedding.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to all 21 counts of theft when he appeared at court on Tuesday May 23.


Wood, of no fixed address was sentenced to 10 months in prison at Lewes Crown Court.

His spate of offending has also activated a suspended sentence, meaning he will serve a total of 34 months in prison.

The Argus: Wood has been jailedWood has been jailed (Image: Sussex Police)

A police spokesman said: "A public appeal for information on his whereabouts was issued, resulting in a member of the public calling police when they found him hiding in their garden shed."

Detective Sergeant Richard Breeze, of Eastbourne Criminal Investigation Department, added: “Stephen Wood caused significant harm to business across our district and we are pleased to see the persistent nature of his offending reflected in this sentence.

“I’d like to thank staff at the businesses affected for reporting the incidents to us and for their continued support bringing the case to court, and the member of the public who reported Wood’s whereabouts that enabled our officers to bring him into custody.

“We will continue working closely with partners in our community to prevent business crime and bring those responsible for causing harm to justice.”