A serial shoplifter, who admitted 23 cases of theft between April and September this year in Hartlepool along with physically assaulting a female store manager, has been sentenced for six months until next March.
John Halse repeatedly stole from shops at Owton Manor and Rift House including Spar, One Stop Shop, Farmfoods and Morrisons Daily, sometimes targeting the same shop twice in the same day, Yahoo UK reported.
Halse had stolen almost £800 of groceries, most of which was not recovered, as he had sold them further for food and for his alcohol addiction.
Cainan Lonsdale, prosecuting, said, “What’s common through these shop thefts is the defendant enters the store with a bag and fills it with the stolen items and then leaves the store.”
On a number of occasions there were confrontations with shop staff who challenged Halse. On June 12, he wrestled with the female store manager of Farmfoods on Catcote Road after stealing £60 worth of laundry products leading to the basket of goods falling to the floor.
Halse escaped after grabbing what he could, said Lonsdale. Two minutes later he stole goods from a Morrisons Daily.
The judge described the spree as “a fairly determined campaign of shoplifting”. Halse was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to the offences in the magistrates court previously.
Helen Towers, defending, said it has been his first taste of custody adding “it hasn’t been a pleasant one”. She said shoplifting became a way of life for Halse after he turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with being made homeless and the loss of family members and a close friend.
Towers said prison had given him a chance to get sober. Halse, of Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, told the court: “The only thing I’m craving is a better life for myself and my kids.”
Judge Tim Stead adjourned passing sentence for six months until next March and said he would not jail Halse if he made good progress.
“I will give you a chance,” he said.