A PROLIFIC criminal who was moved out of South Tyneside to try to turn his life around was back in court yesterday just days after returning to the borough.
Lee Halcrow, who has more than 100 convictions, moved to Stanley in County Durham under a scheme which is designed to curb his criminal behaviour and get him off drugs.
However, he was forced to move back to South Shields after getting into trouble with a gang in the town who beat him up and left him for dead, South Tyneside Magistrates’ heard.
The 38-year-old was caught stealing two bottles of perfume from Lloyds Pharmacy in New Green Street, Laygate, on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to theft at the court yesterday – his 118th conviction.
John McGlone, prosecuting, said Halcrow, who is staying at an address in St Michael’s Court, was on a cocktail of drugs when he took the perfume.
He said: “It was 3.15pm when staff in the pharmacy noticed the defendant, who they recognised from being in the shop previously.
“He asked for some help and after she spoke to him, he left. It was then she realised two bottles of Tommy Girl perfume, each worth £9.99 each were missing from the display.
“She checked CCTV, which showed him putting the bottles in his jacket and leaving.”
He added: “When Halcrow was arrested, he said his head was in a mess and he had taken a mixture of codeine, heroin and ‘blues’.”
Richard Haswell, defending, said: “Last Friday, he was taken away by men in Stanley and left for dead.
“He had £1,000 in credit after leaving prison recently and was beaten up for it. He had to move back to South Shields because of it.
“When he says he can’t remember much about this, it is because he is in a mess and had taken different drugs.”
Magistrates’ gave Halcrow a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £19.98 compensation to the pharmacy.
Last month, Halcrow was given an 18-month conditional discharge at the court after pleading guilty to interfering with a car.
During that case, the court heard that he had been knocked unconscious by the vehicle’s owner and left with a fractured skull, with District Judge John Foster saying he had received “rough, summary justice”.