Man stole from shop twice in two weeks, a court is told
A PENNILESS shoplifter struck at the same store twice in two weeks just days after been released from prison, a court heard.
Ashley Whittaker, of Sandwich Drive, Macclesfield, stole meat worth a total of £20 on two occasions from the town’s Co-op store, magistrates were told.
He had been imprisoned for breaching a suspended sentence just a few months previously, the court heard.
Whittaker, 31, was caught after staff at the store recognised him and reported him to the police after the second offence, the hearing heard.
Simon Pover, prosecuting, told the court: “While in custody for these shoplifting offences the defendant has tested positive for cocaine and heroin. Police think that’s why he is offending.
“After the first offence, on December 18 staff watched the CCTV and saw him take the meat items and leave without paying.
“They did not report it but put it down to stock loss.
“He returned on December 27 and took more meat items. The matter was reported and the CCTV evidence was handed over to police.
“In total the defendant has 17 previous convictions for a total of 47 offences going back to the late 1990s.”
Whittaker admitted theft at the hearing at Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (January 29).
But Ruth Oakes, defending Whittaker, told the court that he had ‘turned his life around’, and disputed the drug test results that the prosecutor had claimed Whittaker had tested positive in.
She said: “I represented him last year and he asked me to ask magistrates to send him to prison to try and get help in relation to his drug addiction.
“He was released on December 12 and what he said to police was that he needed the money as he had just been released from custody.
“He tells me that things are positive for him at the moment.” She added that he had been taken on as a plasterer and that his family were trying to help him.
Ms Oakes said: “He tells me he has turned his life around. The drug test in custody was only related to cocaine, not heroin, and that can stay in the system for several weeks.
“He said he used drugs when he was first released from custody but has not used them for some time.
“His probation officer is happy with his progress and he is working closely with police.”
Sentencing, magistrates ordered Whittaker to carry out 60 hours unpaid work and pay £85 costs to the court. They also handed him a six month supervision order.
●● Ashley Whittaker