Prolific offender allowed to go free

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A PROLIFIC shop thief was told he had “pushed the court’s tolerance to the extreme”, but the serial crook was still spared jail for his latest offence.

Scott Duncan was remanded in custody for two weeks while magistrates decided whether to keep him behind bars for a theft from Poundland in South Shields last month.

The 20-year-old snatched two rolls of tape and a bottle of detergent from the King Street store on Saturday, May 31.

Duncan, of Chesterton Road, South Shields, had been given a 12-month community order on Friday, May 2, after admitting stealing £15 worth of items from Sainsbury’s supermarket in South Shields.

He landed himself back in court just six days later after stealing nearly £300 worth of goods from Asda’s Boldon Colliery store in two raids in as many days.

He was given a six-month conditional discharge on that occasion, but his latest offence breached that penalty. Duncan pleaded guilty to the theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday, June 2, and was remanded in custody for a pre-sentence report to be prepared to investigate possible mental health issues.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “He was arrested and said he had gone in the store to buy items for a friend’s mother, but, while there, made the decision to steal.

“The items were recovered.”

Stephanie Malloy, defending, said Duncan had seen a doctor while in custody and had been prescribed depression medication to tackle his mental health problems.

Miss Malloy added: “Duncan knows he has pushed the court’s tolerance to the extreme by commiting numerous offences in the last couple of years. He has taken steps to speak to a doctor in prison, and he has been prescribed depression medication and is feeling better.

“His sister is prepared to have him at her address while he looks for work.

“I am not here to make excuses for Duncan. He has pushed the court’s patience.

“If you feel the custody threshold has been passed, I would ask you to suspend it and put onerous requirements on the order.

“He will know he has a final chance to put things right.”

Duncan was given an eight-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris

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