A SERIAL thief was caught stealing a bottle of wine from a South Tyneside shop – and clocked up his 108th and 109th convictions.
Alcoholic James Burlinson was seen by the manager of Marks & Spencer in King Street, South Shields, picking up the £7.49 bottle and putting it in his coat.
The 57-year-old then walked around the shop before taking the bottle out of his coat and walking out without paying for it.
Police found him in the grounds of nearby St Hilda’s Church, where he was arguing with another man.
When they approached Burlinson, of Beach Road, South Shields, he swore at them and said to one: “I’ll knock your head off”.
He pleaded guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court to theft and being drunk and disorderly.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told the court that Burlinson stole the wine on Friday afternoon.
She said: “The manager of Marks & Spencer recognised him and saw him put the bottle in his coat.
“He walked to the back of the store and then took it out and walked past the checkouts without paying for it.”
Mrs Beck said when Burlinson was arrested he was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital because he had a cut on his head.
While he was there, he spat at two officers and was abusive to staff.
Mrs Beck added: “When he was interviewed by the police he said he couldn’t remember anything, but knows he is barred from the shop.
“He said he didn’t have any money, so if he was inside he would have been intending to steal alcohol.”
Orla Davey, defending, told the court that Burlinson had been an alcoholic for 42 years.
He was at the court last week after stealing a £3 bottle of wine from B&M in South Shields – on that occasion magistrates were told he had 106 previous convictions.
She said: “He has had no benefits since June.
“He’s an alcoholic with no money and, because of that, he resorts to theft and becomes drunk and disorderly.”
Magistrates gave him a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £7.49 compensation to Marks & Spencer.