Man remanded in custody while court decides whether to lock him up

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A THIEF has been remanded in custody while a decision is made on whether he is fit to serve time in prison.

Scott Duncan took £3 worth of goods from Poundland, in King Street, South Shields, last Saturday – the latest in a spate of thefts by him in recent months.

The 20-year-old admitted shop theft when he appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside, but the court heard that he has failed to engage with the probation service on a previous supervision order. Geoffrey Forrester, defending, called for a pre-sentence report to be 
completed, in order to investigate Duncan’s possible mental health issues.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “He was seen in Poundland in South Shields by a member of the public, putting items in his pockets.

“He was arrested soon after and admitted taking the items without paying for them.”

Duncan, of Chesterton Road, South Shields, was given a 12-month community order on May 2 after admitting stealing £15 worth of items from Sainsbury supermarket in South Shields.

He landed himself back in court just six days later after stealing nearly £300 worth of goods from Asda in Boldon Colliery in two raids in as many days.

He was given a six-month conditional discharge on that occasion, which the latest offence has breached.

Mr Forrester, defending, said: “The defendant is a very young man who, over the past six or seven months, has been back and forth into these courts for offences of theft, all of them relatively low level and utterly unsophisticated.

“He has been given the opportunity of assistance from the probation service, which has not been taken up. On May 8, he was given warning that he had reached the end of the line.

“You may feel has put himself in the position where he will end up in prison.

“The only reservation I have is that this man tells me he has mental health issues.

“Sending someone to prison is a huge decision, not to be taken lightly. You may want more information on him.”

Duncan will be back in court on June 19 to be sentenced after a probation report has been compiled.

Ridley Reid, chairman of the magistrates, admitted it was a ‘catch-22’ situation whether to grant Duncan bail in the meantime.

Due to the fear he may commit more offences while on bail, he was remanded in custody until his sentencing date.

Twitter @shieldsgazchris