Prolific heroin-plagued thief is jailed

Pictured is Gary Appleton, 45, of Fairfield Road, Buxton, who has been jailed for 18 weeks after he admitted two thefts at Buxton stores.

Pictured is Gary Appleton, 45, of Fairfield Road, Buxton, who has been jailed for 18 weeks after he admitted two thefts at Buxton stores.

A prolific drug-troubled thief who struck at two Buxton stores to feed his heroin habit has been jailed.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Wednesday, February 24, how Gary Appleton, 45, of Fairfield Road, Buxton, stole meat from Tesco in December, last year, and from Aldi in February.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “Appleton was identified by CCTV at Tesco taking a number of steaks and gammon valued at £50 and he left without paying.

“His case was adjourned and he was given bail on the condition he doesn’t attend any retail premises in Buxton apart from a chemist.

“During the second offence, an off-duty police officer recognised Appleton acting suspiciously in an Aldi store and CCTV viewed afterwards showed he had been in the store 30 minutes and he took seven pieces of meat.”

Appleton, who has previous convictions with 84 thefts, was later arrested and he admitted stealing the meat from Aldi to sell on because he had no money, according to Mrs Allsop.

Defence solicitor Julie Page said the defendant also pleaded guilty to the first offence at Tesco after he had originally pleaded not guilty because he could not recollect the incident but he changed his plea after CCTV was viewed.

Miss Page added: “The underlying issue has been a relapse into heroin abuse. He has had various degrees of success with intervention but there have often been relapses and his offences have been motivated to deal with the problem.”

District Judge Andrew Davison adjourned the case for the court to consider a probation report before sentencing.

The probation service told a subsequent hearing on Thursday, February 25, how Appleton has previously failed to attend appointments and despite previous support this has not stopped him from drug-related offending.

Defence solicitor Kirsten Collings said Appleton’s latest offences were low-level thefts and his behaviour has been triggered by a long-standing drug problem which requires a long-term solution.

Magistrates sentenced Appleton on February 25 to 18 weeks of custody for the two thefts and for a breach of a supervision order.

He was also ordered to pay £85 compensation.

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