Police have revealed how a cheese thief was snared with the help of alert cctv operators after he demanded a pensioner buy his ill-gotten gains, before robbing her of her pension money.

Richard Gary Jenkinson, 39, from Montrose Street in Darlington stole several blocks of cheese from Sainbury’s on Westbury Street in Thornaby on July 2022.

He then approached a woman’s address in Thornaby and demanded that she bought the cheese from him.

The Northern Echo: Richard Gary Jenkinson, the 'Darlington cheese thief', demanded a woman in Thornaby buy his cheese. Picture: Cleveland PoliceRichard Gary Jenkinson, the 'Darlington cheese thief', demanded a woman in Thornaby buy his cheese. Picture: Cleveland Police (Image: Cleveland Police)

When the victim, aged 68 refused, Jenkinson assaulted her, barged into her home and stole her purse containing £380 (her pension money) and her bank cards and bus pass, a hearing at Teesside Crown Court was told.

Jenkinson was been sentenced to two years in prison after entering a guilty plea for robbery and theft charges.

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Speaking after his trial, investigating officer, DC Niamh Birdsall from Stockton CID said: “The victim was understandably shaken and extremely frightened after suffering this ordeal.

“No one should be attacked in their own home and the actions of Jenkinson on this day are unforgiveable.

Read more: Darlington cheese thief back behind bars after breaching bail conditions

“We managed to locate Jenkinson by watching Stockton Borough Council’s CCTV.

“He is not from our area and is not a well-known to our Force, however, thanks to our colleagues at the council, we managed to locate him. Without the CCTV it would have been very difficult to trace him.

“Jenkinson rightly deserves to pay for his actions by being behind bars. We hope the sentence provides some form of comfort to the victim.”

Councillor Norma Stephenson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for  Access, Communities and Community Safety, added: “Our CCTV operators and Enforcement Officers work very closely with the police to keep people in Stockton-on-Tees safe and I’m very pleased that their efforts have helped to secure Jenkinson’s sentence.

“As well as the store theft, this must have been a terrifying ordeal for the victim which nobody should have to experience. We are determined to prevent those responsible for such behaviour from making people’s lives a misery and our surveillance centre operates 24/7 to ensure those who commit crime in our communities are brought to justice.”