Shop thief is back in court again

BACK IN THE DOCK ... Neal Preston.
BACK IN THE DOCK ... Neal Preston.

A SHOP thief still awaiting sentencing after stealing more than £1,000 of goods from a South Tyneside store has been back in court over two more raids.

Neal Preston’s punishment for snatching £1,033 of perfume and aftershave from Debenhams in Waterloo Square, South Shields was deferred for six months at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last December.

The 36-year-old had taken the 17 bottles from the shelves and packed them into a large yellow bag and left the store on November 18 – only to be arrested by police 20 minutes later.

The sentence for that matter was put on hold to see what progress Preston could make on a community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement that was already in place.

But Preston, of Laygate, in South Shields, was before magistrates again to admit stealing razor blades from Boots in King Street in the town on January 23.

The value of the razor blades taken is not known.

He had already pleaded guilty to a joint theft of hair straighteners worth £20 from a Boots store in Newcastle on January 9 at an earlier hearing.

Preston also admitted failing to comply with a curfew given by South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last September. The case was adjourned for sentencing until April 1 – as Preston is awaiting sentencing for a matter of dangerous driving at Newcastle Crown Court later this month.

Phillipa Wylie, defending, said: “Mr Preston is waiting sentencing at Newcastle Crown Court 
for a matter of dangerous driving in the week commencing March 24.

“These are potentially more serious matters that could carry a custodial sentence. I would ask for this case to be adjourned until after the crown court judgement.”

Magistrates agreed to adjourn sentencing for the thefts until April 1.

Preston was granted bail until then, with the conditions that he resides at his address, does not contact prosecution witnesses and stays out of a South Shields exclusion zone.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris