A PROLIFIC offender thanked magistrates after being given a ‘last chance’ to stay out of jail.
Mark Little was facing a spell behind bars after failing to turn up for two probation appointments that were conditions of a previous suspended prison term handed out after he attacked a police officer.
But the 32-year-old was given a reprieve to get his life back on track.
Little, of Collingwood Street, South Shields, was given a 16-week jail sentence – suspended for 12 months with year-long drug rehabilitation and supervision requirements – for the assault on a police officer in September of last year.
Little, who has more than 40 previous convictions, said ‘thank you’ to magistrates as he left court.
His suspended sentence was extended by a period of two months.
A probation service report given in court stated that Little is a ‘prolific and priority offender’ and his attendance had ‘fallen well below the minimum standard’.
Little admitted failing to attend probation appointments on February 6 and March 3.
Richard Rodger, defending, said Little’s recent problems had stemmed from his efforts to tackle his drug use.
Mr Rodger said: “He started off on the order very well. He hit the ground running.
“Unfortunately, things tailed off and started to deteriorate. The root cause was his attempt with the help of his GP to wean himself off drugs.
“He has been trying to reduce his drug use with the help of his GP, but he says some days he feels thoroughly depressed and finds it difficult to cope with everyday life.
“He is 32 now, and he knows he is getting too old for all of this.
“It is his first breach, and I have told him if the magistrates give him another chance it will be one chance only.
“He would be grateful if you gave him that chance.”
Alan Rhys, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We are going to give you a chance.
“You must engage again. Hopefully you will get your life back on track again, which will benefit you and society.
“We don’t think it’s in the interests of justice to lock you up.”
Little was given the suspended sentence after spitting in the face of a police officer trying to arrest him after he was found in possession of cannabis.
In June of last year, Little was given a six-month community order at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after admitting stealing an Auf Wiedersehen, Pet DVD box set from South Shields’ Central Library.