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Jail for train suitcase thief after £30,000 snatch spree

On the case: Stewart seen on CCTV leaving Wakefield station with stolen bag PICTURES: SWNS

A SERIAL suitcase thief who made off with £30,000 worth of passengers’ property as he travelled on trains has been jailed for almost four years.

Christopher Stewart would board trains without luggage and get off a couple of stops later carrying bags that had been stowed in racks by passengers.

Handling stolen goods: Stewart leaves the station with more snatched luggage

When the 32-year-old was caught after a two-month spree between September and November last year, he was carrying somebody else’s suitcase and wearing a £500 designer coat from an earlier haul.

He was arrested by plainclothes police officers who had been deployed following the spate of thefts on services between Wakefield Westgate and Leeds.

They watched Stewart board the train and go to pick up a suitcase at the next stop, which he admitted wasn’t his when challenged. It is believed he sold a large amount of his haul online. A search of his home found a variety of passengers’ possessions including an electronic tablet, an electric toothbrush, hair straighteners and jewellery. He confessed to police his actions were ‘100 per cent dishonest’.

Stewart, of Wakefield, admitted 13 counts of theft. Leeds crown court took into consideration 23 other theft offences on trains. He was sentenced to five and a half years, reduced to 44 months because of his guilty plea.

Det Con Tony McGibbon said: ‘I am pleased we were able to bring Stewart to justice. He had total disregard for his victims and their property, stealing other people’s items for his own financial gain.’