South East Wales

Designer handbag thief Jayne Rand who stole 905 bags jailed

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Media captionJayne Rand carried out a 'campaign of shoplifting'

A 48-year-old woman who stole 905 designer handbags over a three-year period has been jailed for 18 months.

Jayne Rand, from Swindon in Wiltshire, carried out a nationwide "campaign of shoplifting" and took handbags and purses worth up to £135,000.

She was eventually caught at a shopping centre in Cwmbran, south Wales.

Her haul, Newport Crown Court heard, included bags made by Mulberry, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Burberry valued at up to £200 each.

Rand sold some of the bags on online auction site eBay.

She is known to have made £88,000 in sales from the stolen bags but their retail value would have been closer to double that figure.

Image caption Rand stole handbags from Mulberry, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton

On Friday, Judge Rhys Rowlands told her she had "made a business of stealing" and her actions had been "planned, calculated and persistent".

"I have not seen such a case before. You travelled significant distances to steal from up and down the country and target high value bags," the judge added.

The court heard how Rand, a housewife and mother of two, was able to carry out her crimes and even stole to order for some of her online buyers.

Prosecutor David Wooler said: "She stole handbags from all over the country.

"She targeted department stores including Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

"Her usual method of theft was to go into the store without a bag, pick up one from the display, walk around with it on her shoulder for a while, then simply walk out of the store.

"Sometimes she would have to remove the security tag, but usually she wouldn't have to."

But her crime spree came to an end when security staff at a shopping centre in Cwmbran caught her and alerted police.

The court heard after officers began to investigate they found she had listed a significant number of handbags for sale on eBay priced competitively.

"Her house was full of sealable grey delivery bags and Post Office receipts," the prosecutor told the court.

"She set up a legitimate business and no one, not even her husband, knew what she was doing.

"Rand told police she needed money to fund her lifestyle."

'Bitterly regrets'

She admitted stealing 905 handbags and four purses from House of Fraser and various retail businesses between December 2009 and December 2012.

She also admitted converting criminal assets from 838 handbags.

The court was told the cost price of the handbags was in excess of £130,000 but the prosecutor said the retail price would be much greater.

In her defence, Andrew Taylor, said: "She bitterly regrets everything that she's done."

"She became almost immune to the feeling of wrongdoing.

"She was almost addicted to stealing high-value bags in an attempt to keep the ship afloat.

"She never expected to find herself in such dire circumstances and out of desperation took this course of action."

During sentencing, Judge Rhys Rowlands told Rand: "This was a remarkably serious raft of thefts which only ended when you were caught stealing a valuable handbag from a store in Cwmbran.

"How you got away with it for so long without being caught was deeply remarkable.

"You showed professionalism and that is why you went undetected for so long.

"You travelled the country with the sole purpose of theft and you made a successful albeit dishonest business of selling stolen handbags.

"The values are quite outside of what the court comes across even from professional shoplifting gangs.

"It's sad and unusual to see a woman of 48 with previous good character up before the court for such a protracted and serious dishonesty.

"Many, many businesses get into difficulty but most behave honestly and do not turn to this sort of crime."

Image caption Over three years, Rand stole more than 900 bags

PC Rhodri Parry, from Gwent Police, said: "Crimes against retailers impact all of the community as it has the effect of making goods more expensive for everyone else.

"We are pleased that the individual responsible for a sustained series of thefts from local retailers and those further afield has now been sentenced for her crimes. She will now be subject to a proceeds of crime inquiry."

A House of Fraser spokesperson said Rand's behaviour "impacted a number of retailers across the UK".

"We commend the vigilance of our Cwmbran store team who identified the woman as acting suspiciously, acted promptly and were supported by the police with her arrest," the spokesperson added.

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