A SERIAL shoplifter has been warned to turn his back on drugs and change his “chaotic lifestyle” after being allowed to walk free from court.
Michael Fox was caught on CCTV snatching three packs of razors from the Wilkinson store in Jarrow’s Bede Precinct just a week after getting out of jail.
The 38-year-old, of Australia Grove, South Shields, had been remanded in custody for a month over a spate of thefts at South Tyneside stores in September, before being given a 12-month community order on Monday, October 13.
But on Monday, October 20, Fox was back up to his old tricks, stealing the razors, valued at £34, from the Jarrow store, only to be spotted on store cameras.
Fox pleaded guilty to shop theft at a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in November, but sentencing was deferred until yesterday for the bench to hear how he is complying with the community order and a drug rehabilitation requirement also imposed at the same time.
Magistrates gave Fox a six-month conditional discharge after hearing from probation officers that he appears to be making efforts to complete the order and hasn’t been in trouble with the law since.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “A man was seen on CCTV entering the store and selecting three packets of razors. He is then seen to take off his coat and put the razors inside.
“He then goes to the entrance door and waits for a customer to enter before leaving through the door with the items concealed.”
David Forrrester, defending, said: “He has got a very long record.
“He has a chaotic lifestyle and a history of drug use. It is only going to get better with baby steps.”
Fox told the court he is trying to adhere to the community order and has stopped drinking.
Magistrates’ chairman Dave Errington said: “We appreciate it is difficult for you to move away from your current lifestyle but there are only so many offers of help you are going to get.
“You need to be clean when you are getting your drug tests. You have got yourself off drink – now get yourself off the other stuff.”
Fox was also ordered to pay £34 compensation to the store.