'New leaf' serial thief walks free from court

South Shields Magistrates Court
South Shields Magistrates Court

A serial shoplifter - with over 100 convictions - walked free from court after telling magistrates he has turned over a new leaf.

Thomas Bingham, who has 111 previous convictions for theft, has not offended for six months, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Bingham, 49, of Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, had admitted theft at an earlier hearing after stealing jars of coffee.

At his previous appearance, sentence was deferred for six months.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told the court: “His total number of previous offences is 175.

“The last offence was stealing five jars of coffee.

“Sentence on that matter was deferred for six months.”

Bingham’s probation officer told the court: “Mr Bingham has complied well with the last order since it was imposed in April.

“He has breached orders many times in the past.

“We are more than pleased with the progress he has made in the last six months.”

Bingham told the bench: “I’ve got a lovely little flat now.

“I’m trying to sort my life out. I don’t want to go back to prison.

“Everyone has a blip now and again, but I am doing my best.”

Magistrates gave Bingham a conditional discharge for 12 months.