‘Wild’ shoplifter jailed after £23k theft spree
ASHOPLIFTER went on a ‘wild’ seven-month spree, stealing about £23,000 of goods from a number of stores.
Paul Gillespie, 23, of Middleton, was finally caught after trying to steal from TK Maxx in Rochdale.
Manchester Crown Court heard how Gillespie raided dozens of shops including TK Maxx, Boots, Sports Direct, Marks and Spencer and Peacocks.
He picked up what he could find and ran to a waiting car, stealing hundreds of pounds of items each time.
Gillespie, of Abbey Road, has now been jailed after admitting eight counts of theft. He asked the judge to take another 55 thefts into account.
Gillespie first struck at TK Maxx in Bolton in the spring, stealing £1,185 of designer clothes.
In April, he took £300 of meat from Marks and Spencer in Walkden, Salford.
In May, he punched a shop worker in the face twice at Spar in Boarshaw, Middleton, then continued to beat him on the ground after an argument broke out when he tried to steal from the shop.
Later that month, he stole £1,500 of designer sunglasses from Boots at Elk Mill Retail Park in Royton. In June, he helped himself to £560 of men’s clothes from TK Maxx at Manchester Fort. Later that month, he stole from TK Maxx in Bolton again, taking £900 of handbags.
In August he stole £2,000 of football shirts from Sports Direct. Then in September, he stole £650 of women’s coats from Peacocks in Bury.
Gillespie was finally caught on September 12, when he was trying to steal from TK Maxx in Rochdale.
He had a basket of items he wanted to steal but was spotted by secu- rity. He dropped the basket and got into a VW Polo, which he drove around the car park before deciding to go back into the store.
After being arrested, Gillespie said he was stealing to fund a drug habit and pay off gambling debts.
The total value of the items within the eight counts of theft he pleaded guilty to was about £8,000.
He asked the judge to take into consideration a further 60 offences, which he admitted.
These include 55 thefts, four public order offences and one common assault, after he pushed a shop worker in the act of shoplifting. The value of the items in those 55 offences of theft totalled about £17,000.
Sentencing, Judge Martin Rudland said: “This was wild behaviour that pays no regard at all to the community which these shops serve.”
Gillespie was sentenced to 16 months in jail for the thefts, and a further four months for assaulting the Spar worker. He also breached a previous suspended sentence, and received a total of three years and two months in prison.
Shoplifter Paul Gillespie