‘Wild’ shoplifter jailed af­ter £23k theft spree

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW BARD­S­LEY

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

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