Prolific South Shields offender trying to leave ‘chaotic’ lifestyle behind is back in court

Lee Halcrow, in court for stealing packets of steak.
Lee Halcrow, in court for stealing packets of steak.

A prolific offender with 134 convictions to his name is no longer “sofa surfing” after serving a lengthy prison term, South Tyneside magistrates were told.

Lee Halcrow, 40, has an “unenviable” criminal record, defence solicitor Victoria Oliver admitted when he appeared in court yesterday.

He has an unenviable criminal record

Victoria Oliver

Of his lengthy list of convictions the majority, a total of 84, are theft-related.

Halcrow was sentenced to a 52-week prison term last October after thefts from St Jude’s Church in South Shields.

The minister of the church, the Reverend Philip Bullock, said at the time he felt “justice had been done”.

But since his release Mrs Oliver said there was evidence her client had began to turn his life around and he had found permanent accommodation in Devonshire Street, South Shields,

Despite that, Halcrow admitted stealing three packets of steak valued at £10.04 from the Aldi store in Chichester Road, South Shields, on June 21 this year.

Kevin Ross, prosecuting, said: “The defendant effectively took the items and left without payment. A chase then took place as the defendant fled the scene and he handed back the goods.  

“He was arrested eventually and made full admissions to the police.”

The case was adjourned until August 25 for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

Mrs Oliver said: “Mr Halcrow does have an unenviable record, certainly it is lengthy and I have represented him for a number of years.

“Mr Halcrow does have issues with drugs. However, since his release it appears what was a chaotic lifestyle before his imprisonment seems to have calmed down.

“He has a stable address, previous to that he was sofa surfing, with friends providing him with accommodation.

“He is on benefits, giving him a regular income, something he previously didn’t have because he didn’t have a stable address.

“This latest offence occurred because his methadone was taken from him and he was unable to take it that day. This led him to fall back into his old ways.

“He now seems to be in the best health I have personally seen him in for a long time.”