Reformed serial thief resorted to shoplifting in Alfreton to pay off a drug-debt

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A reformed serial thief who fell back into old ways to pay off a drug debt has narrowly been spared from being put behind bars.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on November 7 how Jonathan Whittaker, 42, stole £702 worth of goods when he struck three times at Boots, on High Street, in Alfreton, in October.

Prosecuting solicitor Neil Hollett said: “He was captured on CCTV on October 10 going into the store with a bag and selecting gift sets valued at £312.50 and leaving without paying.

“On October 18 he came into the same store and again was captured on CCTV and took more gift sets valued at just short of £300.”

Mr Hollett added that Whittaker also stole fragrances from the same Boots store on October 24 and once again he was seen on CCTV footage stealing goods valued at £90.

Whittaker, of Flamstead Street, Derby, returned to the store on November 1 when staff became suspicious of his behaviour following the previous incidents and he was challenged by a PCSO before being taken to the police station.

Whittaker, who has 56 previous convictions for 185 offences including 108 thefts and kindred offences, pleaded guilty to the three thefts.

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The probation service stated that Whittaker is currently subject to post sentence supervision relating to a previous matter but stated that he had been trying to raise money with the latest thefts to clear a drug debt.

Police also confirmed that jobless Whittaker has been drug-free for nine months after being dependent on drugs since he was 25-years-old, according to the probation service.

Defence solicitor David Gittins said Whittaker has not committed any other offences since December, last year, and he had been making progress during the last 11 months and he is drug-free.

Mr Gittins added that Whittaker owes money to people for drugs and they found him and he started committing these offences to pay off the drug debt.

Magistrates sentenced Whittaker to 12 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with 80 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £702 in compensation to Boots.