A SERIAL thief has been told to turn his back on crime – because he isn’t any good at it.
David Bell was caught stealing toiletries and cosmetics from a South Tyneside store on Friday, April 18, just weeks after completing a jail sentence for another theft.
The 30-year-old has 36 previous convictions, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
Bell set off a security alarm as he left the Savers store in the Denmark Centre in South Shields.
Police arrested him soon after and found four bottles of shampoo and eye make-up, together worth £19.44, in his possession.
Bell, of Titian Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to theft this week.
Magistrates’ chairman Ridley Reid gave Bell a six-month conditional discharge and told him: “You are not a very successful shop thief. The result is that you are before the courts again.
“It’s time you learned that being unsuccessful doesn’t pay any benefits.”
Bell was given a 16-week jail term in February for breaching a suspended sentence by snatching protein powder shakes worth £106 from the Holland and Barrett store in King Street, South Shields, in January and stealing three joints of beef, together valued at £36, from the town’s Lidl supermarket in Boldon Lane in February.
It was his second spell in custody in the space of a year as he was previously jailed for seven months for thefts at three South Shields shops while serving another suspended sentence.
That time round, he stole almost £500 worth of cosmetics and razor blades from Boots in King Street during two separate visits and also took baby blankets and socks, valued at £42, from British Home Stores in Waterloo Square.
James Long, prosecuting, said: “The security alarm went off as the defendant left the store in the Denmark Centre.
“He was stopped a short while later and searched by police, who found the items on him.
“He has 36 convictions for 53 offences. He was imprisoned in February for another shop theft.”
Rachel Mangenie, defending, said: “David Bell is a young man with an unenviable record of previous convictions.
“He is someone who has committed and pleaded guilty to a number of shop thefts in the past.
“He has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He was fully co-operative with police and accepts responsibility.
“He has battled for many years with drug and alcohol problems.