[UPDATE] Police investigating a spate of camera shop thefts across the South East have named a man from London who they have charged, Amateur Photographer has learned.

Michael Purtill, 58, of Kirkham Street, London SE18, is accused of stealing thousands of pounds worth of kit over an eight-month period.

He was charged on 24 August in connection with a string of thefts from high-street stores dating back to 19 November 2012. The most recent took place on 29 July.

Police say the first of the alleged thefts took place at Park Cameras, in Burgess Hill, West Sussex where £5,000 worth of camera gear went missing.

This was followed by an alleged incident at Wex Photographic in Norwich on 20 February 2013 when £2,335 worth of kit disappeared.

Purtill was also charged with the theft of camera gear, valued at £2,359, from the London Camera Exchange store in Guildford, Surrey six days later; and the theft of an £839.99 lens from Harpers Photographic in Woking on 14 March.

He is also suspected of stealing a camera and lens, worth £5,145, from Red Dot Cameras in London on 15 May.

Purtill is also accused of the attempted theft of a £449.95 lens from the Peter Jones department store, Sloane Square, London on 29 July.

The suspect appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court yesterday and indicated a guilty plea, a court spokesperson has told Amateur Photographer.

He was remanded in police custody awaiting a psychiatric report and is due to appear at Woolwich Crown Court for sentencing at a date yet to be announced.

The man was arrested last Friday.

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