Man stole from shop twice in two weeks, a court is told

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON -

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

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