A SERIAL meat thief is targeting Canvey’s Iceland - and threatening to stab staff if they stop him.

Hundreds of pounds of luxury meat has been stolen from the shop, in Furtherwick Road, which has been hit three times in four days.

The shop has released CCTV images of a man they believe can help police with the ongoing investigation into the incidents.

Store manager Dave Sturdy said the threat is enough to put staff off from confronting the man especially considering the level of knife crime in the area.

Mr Sturdy said: “Meat thefts is an issue, and one we have highlighted before.

“This time it has happened three times in four days with just one culprit.

“He must be taking £100 worth of meat, all luxury meat, each time.

“He is coming into the shop, filling up the basket and then just walks out.

“He walks by the cashier and says ‘don’t follow me or I will stab you, I have a knife’.

“It is the audacity of it all, just to be so calm.

“He calmly fills his basket, walks out, and then sprints up High Street.

“It is hard.

“We have reported every incident to the police.”

“We are doing all we can but there is not a huge amount we can do.”

Mr Sturdy reported three thefts in the space of four days at the shop, with the final incident taking place on July 8.

The store has previously been targeted by thieves, with the Echo reporting last year on Mr Sturdy’s claims the shop was being targeted between 50 and 60 times a week by prolific shoplifters.

Mr Sturdy admitted since then the numbers have fallen and police have been very supportive.

However the knife threat is causing real concerns.

Mr Sturdy confirmed no knife has been seen but the threat has been made repeatedly.

A spokesman for Essex Police asked for anyone who recognises the man to come forward.

Call police on 101, quoting reference 42/108091/19.

In relation to the incident on July 8, a police spokesman said: “Do you recognise this man?

“We’d like to talk to him about a theft from a supermarket in Canvey on Monday 8 July.

“It was reported that a man entered the Iceland store on Furtherwick Road and picked up a number of meat products.

“The man then threatened a member of staff as he left the store without making an attempt to pay for the items.