Thief’s plea to be jailed pays off

BACK IN JAIL ... James Burlinson

BACK IN JAIL ... James Burlinson

AN alcoholic thief is back behind bars after urging his own solicitor to plead with magistrates to jail him.

James Burlinson was caught snatching a £10 bottle of wine from Morrisons in South Shields on Saturday.

The 58-year-old, who has clocked up more than 100 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft, and gave his defence solicitor the “unenviable” task of advising magistrates to give him custody.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told magistrates in South Tyneside: “A security guard was advised that a male had taken a bottle of wine, and left without payment. He was given the description of the man, and found him in the car park.

“Burlinson admitted he had stolen the wine, and wanted to go back to prison.”

Orla Davey, defending, said: “He committed the offence with the sole intention of getting caught. I am in the unenviable position of asking that he be sent to prison.

“What he tells me is that, if you release him today, he will commit more offences in order to be sent to prison. We are in a vicous circle.

“The only thing I can say in his favour is that he has accepted he is responsible, and has entered an early guilty plea.

“To be perfectly honest, we are prolonging the inevitable if he is not jailed.

“He will re-offend and re-offend until he gives the court no other option.”

Dave Errington, chairman of the magistrates, jailed Burlinson for four weeks.

Burlinson, of no fixed abode, was in court last Monday after admitting stealing a £3.39 bottle of cider from B and M Bargains in Queen Street, South Shields. On that occasion, he also instructed his defence solicitor to ask for him to be locked up but magistrates gave him a £73 fine.

Last month, the Gazette revealed how Burlinson was to spend his birthday and Christmas behind bars after his solicitor, Angus Westgarth, told magistrates in South Tyneside that his client would continue to commit offences and be a nuisance to society – unless they sent him to prison.

It came after he appeared in court after being caught attempting to steal a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey from the Tesco supermarket in Newcastle Road, South Shields.

The Bench duly obliged and sentenced him to 10 weeks in jail.

After the decision, Burlinson thanked the Bench as he was led away from the dock.

His latest jail sentence is the third time in just six months he has been given custody at his own request.

Twitter @shieldsgazchris


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