A THIEF has been jailed after stealing a bottle of booze from a shop – just hours after appearing in court for another theft.
Craig Nicholson was given a conditional discharge at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, after admitting stealing two PlayStation 3 games from his supported accommodation in Whitehead Street, South Shields.
The 34-year-old – who has now been booted out of his lodgings – was caught pocketing a bottle of Bell’s whisky from Asda in Station Road, Hebburn, at 8.20pm the same day.
He was arrested after police found him nearby with the £21 bottle on him.
Nicholson, now of Prendwick Court, Hebburn, pleaded guilty to the second theft when he re-appeared before magistrates, and was jailed for 12 weeks for showing a “total disregard” for the court. They heard he is classed as a prolific offender by the probation service.
Chairman of the Bench, Barry Hunter, said: “We’ve looked at your offending history, and community orders have been breached and suspended sentences activated.
“Because of your prolific offending and the total disregard you have for the court – and that you committed the latest theft hours after leaving court – we are sending you to custody.”
Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “Staff in Asda were alerted by a customer who said someone had stolen a bottle of whisky. Police officers took a description matching Nicholson’s and he was found nearby with the bottle.
“He told police that he didn’t realise he hadn’t paid for the whisky because he had found a bag of valium and had 20 tablets.”
Mr Laidlaw added that earlier the same day, Nicholson had appeared in court after stealing two computer games from the communal room of the Cyrenians hostel that he had been staying at.
He was caught after being captured on CCTV taking the games, worth £20 each.
The court heard from the probation service that Nicholson’s misuse of valium and alcohol has been escalating since the turn of the year.
John Williams, defending, said: “This happened within a short time of getting a conditional discharge yesterday. He was on his way to stay with his mother, and wanted to take her a bottle of whisky.
“Sending him to custody means he won’t have a home when he comes out, because she will not put him up.
“This was a theft with no sophistication or planning, and the one from the Cyrenians hostel was stupid really. He knew it was covered by CCTV.”