‘Easily-led’ shoplifter jailed for six months

LOCKED UP ... Colin Dunn has been jailed for a spate of shop thefts.
LOCKED UP ... Colin Dunn has been jailed for a spate of shop thefts.

A PROLIFIC teenage thief who carried out four shop thefts in three weeks – stealing drink and cigarettes – has been jailed for six months.

Colin Dunn, 18, was already subject to a suspended sentence when he committed two of the crimes, and he admitted four counts of theft when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week.

He was remanded in custody until yesterday, when the full six-week term of his suspended sentence was activated by magistrates, who also imposed a further 18 weeks for the shop-theft spree.

Dunn, of Lincoln Road, South Shields, targeted two convenience stores, a supermarket and a service station during his mini crime-wave, stealing more than £100 of cigarettes and alcohol.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “On June 14, at St Matthew’s Service Station in Jarrow, he took two packets of cigarettes worth £16.80.

“On the same day, along with another man, he went into Asda, in Coronation Street, South Shields, and took a bottle of vodka worth £18.50 and left without paying.”

The two offences pre-dated a suspended sentence handed out at the court on June 25 for a separate shop theft.

On June 28 – just three days after being spared jail – Dunn and an accomplice stole two bottles of Jack Daniels and 40 cigarettes worth £64.38 from McColl’s convenience store in Jarrow.

On Sunday, July 6, he stole £15.40 worth of Lambert and Butler cigarettes from Eastfield Stores in Jarrow.

Dunn was arrested over the thefts following inquiries by the police.

David Hatfield, defending, said that being sent to prison would be “a shock” for Dunn and his family.

He told magistrates: “The question you have is whether you send him to prison for breaching his suspended sentence. He is a young man of 18, who is very easily led. Other young men go to him and ask him to commit offence. They go in and steal. It is never his idea. He is led to steal by older and more sophisticated people.

“That doesn’t make him any less guilty but you can look at that when you decide whether to activate the suspended sentence.

“It will be a great shock to him and his parents if he goes to prison.”

Magistrates activated Dunn’s six-week suspended sentence and gave him a six-week jail term for the two thefts on June 14 and six weeks each for the two convenience store thefts.

The sentences will run consecutively, making a total 24-week jail sentence.

Northumbria Police has stepped up patrols in South Tyneside to target thieves, including shoplifters, as part of Operation Soundwave, the forcewide initiative focusing on opportunist criminals.