South Shields thief nabbed after using bus to escape scene of crime

BUS-TED... Stephen Scott was jailed for six weeks
BUS-TED... Stephen Scott was jailed for six weeks

A BUNGLING thief received a one-way ticket to jail – after being stopped by police as he boarded a bus to escape the scene of his crime.

Stephen Scott snatched a £40 Ted Baker gift set from Boots, in King Street, South Shields, on Tuesday, February 17, but was caught in the act by staff members, who gave chase.

A female store worker alerted police via the shopwatch radio system before joining colleagues in pursuing the man, who jumped into a taxi in Keppel Street.

After seeing the 46-year-old in the cab, she approached the vehicle and said to him ‘You have something that belongs to us’.

Scott got out of the taxi and onto a bus, but police made a timely arrival and got onboard to apprehend him.

Scott, of Westoe Road, South Shields, admitted shop theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that he had only been given a electronically tagged curfew in January for another shop theft, and was also subject to a 12-month community order handed out for another offence in November.

Magistrates revoked his community order and sentenced him to six weeks behind bars.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “The staff member approached him as he was in the taxi and said ‘you’ve got something that belongs to us.’

“Scott picked up the item from the footwell of the car and said I’m going now.She said ‘you can’t – the police are coming’.

“He got out of the taxi and boarded a bus, but the police had arrived by this time and got on the bus to arrest him.”

Michelle Stonley, defending, said: “He is 46 and has been a drug user for many years. In November, he was given a community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR).

“For a man who has been a drug user for many years, a DRR will not change everything overnight, it will take some months to work.

“A custodial sentence will not tackle the issues he has.

Barry Hunter, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We have no option but to give you a custodial sentence.”