A TEENAGE shop thief was jailed for two months by magistrates – despite a last-ditch plea by his solicitor.
Ian White, 19, was caught by police snatching a £5 bottle of Cactus Jacks alcohol from Iceland supermarket in South Shields on Thursday.
The offence breached a suspended sentence hanging over White.
South Tyneside Magistrates Court heard it was the second time he had breached the suspended sentence, which was imposed last October.
White, of Whitehead Street, South Shields, pleaded guilty to the theft on Friday.
Magistrates retired twice – on the second occasion to consider the argument from defence solicitor Kayleigh Hellens for White to be kept out of custody – before reaching their verdict.
Sarah Guest, prosecuting, said: “He was seen taking a bottle of red alcohol from Iceland at 5pm.
“He walked through the checkout without paying and was detained by an officer.
“He had the bottle of alcohol in his jacket. He has appeared relatively regularly in court.”
Ms Hellens, defending, said: “He pleaded guilty to this offence at the first opportunity. He went into Iceland to buy a smaller bottle of the alcohol, but they didn’t have any. This was spur of the moment, a spontaneous decision. He is 19 years old, a vulnerable man, who needs some help.”
After retiring to consider the case, Chair of the Magistrates Laverne Elrick said: “We are considering activating the suspended sentence.”
Miss Hellens was given another opportunity to persuade the Bench not to jail the defendant, saying: “He is a young man who has had problems.
“He has previously spent time on remand, and said it was the short, sharp shock that he needed. He said he didn’t think he would be able to cope in custody.
“He is currently in supported accomodation. He would go into custody with some problems, but would then come out of custody with the same problems, if not more.
“He would not have access to the support available to him and would be homeless.”
Delivering her final verdict, Mrs Elrick told White: “We feel for this offence that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.
“You will be sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment for the theft, reduced from three weeks for your guilty plea.
“We are activating your suspended sentence, but it will be reduced from eight weeks to six weeks.”
The two sentences were ordered to run consecutively, giving White an eight-week spell in jail.