A THIEF who stole watches and clothing during two thefts in the space of a week at South Shields stores was branded a ‘complete pain’ by a judge as he narrowly avoided jail.
Liam Blakey received an eight-week suspended jail sentence after he targeted two King Street stores.
He was caught taking two watches from the SemiChem store on October 9, and stole £102.85-worth of clothing from Store Twenty One on October 14.
The clothing was recovered after Blakey’s arrest for that offence.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to the theft from SemiChem at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Friday, having already admitted the second offence at a previous hearing.
He also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to surrender to police bail on December 12.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 11.25am on Wednesday, October 9, a member of staff saw a male acting suspicously in the store. She checked CCTV, which showed him pick up the watches and put them in the right pocket of his jogging bottoms.
“On October 17, he went back in the store asking if there were any watches left, and was recognised by the member of staff, who contacted the town hall camera operators.
“He was identified as the defendant by a PSCO and then arrested.”
When interviewed, Blakey initially said he could not recall the theft.
Valerie Bell, defending, said: “He is 31, and does not have the best of records. He entered a prompt guilty plea.
“He is motivated to work with probation and would comply with any order.”
District Judge Helen Cousins, sentencing Blakey, said: “You are a complete pain and a constant offender.”
Blakey, of York Hill Crescent, Spennymoor, County Durham, was handed four-week sentences for both thefts to run consecutively.
His eight-week jail term was suspended for 12 months, and will include a community supervision requirement.
He was also handed a four-week suspended sentence for failing to surrender to police bail, which will run concurrently with the other sentences, and ordered to pay compensation of £20.
District Judge Cousins warned Blakey: “If you commit another offence or fail to comply with probation, you will make the decision for yourself and take yourself into custody.”