A PROLIFIC shoplifter has been jailed after his latest theft – which happened just hours after leaving court.
Keith Bingham, from South Shields, was at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to stealing perfume from department store Debenhams.
The 45-year-old – who has more than 60 convictions for theft – was already on bail for a separate shoplifting charge after stealing perfume from Asda in South Shields, and magistrates decided they should both be dealt with together.
That case was due to be heard today at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, but on his way home from Sunderland, on Wednesday, he was caught by police in South Shields town centre with two pairs of stolen women’s shoes.
He was arrested, and Bingham, of Brunswick Street, was taken to South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to his latest crime and all three cases were heard.
Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “He was seen by staff working in Asda in Coronation Street, South Shields, going into the changing rooms with a basket that had a bottle of Paco Rabanne, worth £35, inside.
“When he came out, he tried to leave the store without paying for anything and he was arrested.”
Bingham pleaded guilty to the theft a day later, but his sentence was deferred to see if he could stay out of trouble.
In the meantime, he was placed on a strict noon-to-midnight curfew to try to keep him out of shops.
However, that curfew was relaxed after his appearance at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court and did not start until 4pm on Wednesday.
Bingham was arrested at 3.15pm in Fowler Street after police found two pairs of shoes in a box that was supposed to be for an electrical heater.
Mr Sudworth said: “He was caught leaving Debenhams in Sunderland with £260 of perfume on December 13.
“He appeared at court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to the theft and the case was transferred to this court.
“His curfew was relaxed to give him time to get home after court, but he was arrested before he got home with two pairs of stolen shoes on him.”
The court heard that the probation service does not think there is any help it can offer Bingham .
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “He was given a chance to stay out of trouble and he didn’t take it.
“He has continued to shoplift, and there has to be a time when the only answer is custody.”
Magistrates sentenced him to six months and three weeks in jail for all three thefts.
Speaking after the case, Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “Bingham is a persistent offender who has failed to engage with any services available to him.
“He, and anyone else in his situation, cannot expect anything less than a prison sentence.”