Thief is jailed for 12 weeks

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A homeless shoplifter has been jailed for 12 weeks after he has declined support from the probation service to find him accommodation and to wean him off drugs.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Monday, May 19, how Paul Wells, 30, of no fixed abode, stole sandwiches from a Co-op, a baseball cap from Sports Direct and wine from Premier Express, in Newbold, Chesterfield.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “He was seen on CCTV stealing from the Co-op.

“During his second offence he was seen by staff at Sports Direct acting suspiciously and putting something under his coat before he was spotted sitting nearby while wearing a stolen cap. The other matter involved the theft of a bottle of wine.”

Wells, who has previous convictions for thefts, pleaded guilty to the Co-op theft committed on May 3, the Sports Direct theft committed on May 17 and the wine theft which was committed on March 24.

Defence solicitor Philip Bloor said: “It’s a sad state of affairs because this case doesn’t reflect on the difficult situation Mr Wells finds himself in.

“The court has tried to assist him in the past but if he can’t assist himself and because of his position the authorities cannot assist him and it’s a vicious circle.

“He’s been homeless for some time and he suffers with depression and takes cannabis and legal highs, and he sleeps rough.

“He was previously given an opportunity to seek help for housing and to stop taking legal highs but he committed further offences.

“He has been candid and accepts what he has done but where there is no motivation to help himself probation cannot assist.

“At some point Mr Wells will seek help and break this vicious circle.”

Magistrates, who heard how Wells stole food to eat and stole the cap to sell for drugs, imposed a 12 month custodial sentence for the three thefts.