South Shields shop thief with over 180 CONVICTIONS stole chocolate from Home Bargains

A serial thief with over 180 convictions has been spared jail after stealing chocolate from Home Bargains.

Christopher Rutherford took £26.91 worth of confectionery from the South Shields branch last October.

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The theft put him in breach of a suspended sentence which was imposed in March last year, for handling stolen passports and cash from a woman's flat in Gosforth in September 2020.

Home Bargains in South Shields.Home Bargains in South Shields.
Home Bargains in South Shields.

On that occasion, he admitted two counts of handling stolen goods, and was sentenced to 10 months suspended for 12 months.

Rutherford, 39, of Hazlitt Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to theft from a shop and breaching the suspended sentence.

Jane Foley, mitigating, said: "This defendant is a long-standing drug addict, an addiction he formed when he was a youth.

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"He has made numerous attempts to curtail his drug misuse but has succumbed to relapse.

"Mr Rutherford has previously demonstrated an ability to comply with supervision, both on licence and with community-based sentences.

"Custody will serve to punish Mr Rutherford but as we can all recognise it's unlikely to rehabilitate him.

"It's not going to address the cause of his offending."

Mr Recorder Mark Giuliani said: "It's pleasing to report that the defendant is not only complying but has a very positive provided by the very experiencedprobation officer."

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The judge imposed a two-year community order after being satisfied he could be given the opportunity to work with the relevant services.

He added: "It's in the public interest that this defendant, not withstanding being in breach of a suspended sentence, is sentenced to a community order."

Rutherford was fined £200 and must complete a nine-month drugs programme, a thinking skills course, and 20 rehabilitation days.