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Prolific thief given final chance
A PROLIFIC thief who stuffed chocolate bars and dog treats down his trousers has been given a “last chance” to stop his offending.
Dean Andrew Cooper, 30, pleaded guilty to a shoplifting offence and asked for another offence to be taken into consideration but the magistrates, who would normally sentence the low-level crime, felt his offending was so serious he should be sentenced by a crown court judge.
Salisbury Crown Court heard on Thursday, Cooper has 59 previous offences of dishonesty and has repeatedly breached suspended sentences and community orders.
He has spent 90 days in prison this year. He was released in early September and committed these two offences on September 25 and 28 while on licence.
Cooper was seen by a member of staff at Co-op on Wilton Road picking up items in the confectionary aisle and stuffing them down his trousers. When the member of staff confronted him he denied taking anything. The man said if he didn’t put the chocolate back he would call the police but Cooper said “it wasn’t me” and walked out but he was caught on CCTV and recognised by a police officer.
He asked for a similar offence to be taken into consideration when he stole dog treats and biscuits from Pets at Home on Southampton Road.
Defending Susan Jones said Cooper has a history of drug use but wants to undertake a rehabilitation programme. She said he has learnt his lesson and if he returned to prison he would lose his accommodation at John Baker House.
Cooper had already spent 22 days in custody waiting for the sentence hearing so Judge John Dixon said he would give him a community sentence as he had already served the equivalent of a six-week sentence.
“You’re not a serious criminal but you are a persistent one. Your record shows that you have persistently stolen from shops. They are relatively minor offences but each and every offence is distressing to the individual people involved.
“There is a lot to be said for locking you up just to keep you off the streets but on the other hand, in the long term that may do you no good.”
Judge Dixon said Cooper’s drug addiction needed to be tackled to stop him offending. He gave him a 12-month community order with 12 months’ supervision, a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and ordered him to do 50 hours of unpaid work. Cooper also has to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
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