Thief stole perfume to fund his legal highs habit

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A MAN who stole perfume from a South Tyneside shop to feed a legal highs habit – just a day after being in court for a similar theft – has been told he has “lost his good name” by a judge.

Dale Walker had never been in trouble with the law until he was given a conditional discharge by magistrates for snatching an £18 bottle of Paul Smith perfume from Wilkinsons store, in South Shields, on October 6.

But, after being given a conditional discharge for the offence at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on October 21, he breached that order the following day by stealing a £34 bottle of Jon Paul Gautier perfume from Asda, in Coronation Street, South Shields.

The court heard that the 25 year-old had been abusing legal highs at the time and had carried out the thefts in order to sell on the goods to get money to buy more.

Walker, of Victoria Road, South Shields, admitted one charge of shop theft and one of breaching a conditional discharge when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “A security guard was on duty at Asda at about 9.45pm. He saw store CCTV of a man, later identified as Walker, acting suspiciously and wandering up and down the aisles.

“He went to the toiletry aisle and selected a bottle of perfume and removed the security tags.

“He is then seen with his back to the camera fiddling with his jacket. Then when he is next seen, the perfume is no longer there. He appeared to have concealed it on his person. He goes to a self-service aisle and pays for some sweets, but not the perfume, and exits the store.

“The security guard contacted the police.”

Walker was later arrested and admitted stealing the fragrance when interviewed by police.

Mr Laidlaw added: “He told police ‘I just pinched it’. He said he had been taking legal highs, which had made him feel stoned.”

Valerie Bell, defending, said: “Two offences both took place in October. He was abusing legal highs at the time and carried out the offences in order to get money to buy more.

“He has sought help for his problem and hasn’t taken legal highs for a week-and-a-half.”

District Judge Helen Cousins revoked Walker’s conditional discharge for the Wilkinsons theft – and fined him £73 for the offence, ordering him to pay court costs of £50.

He was also fined £73 for the theft from Asda and ordered to pay £85 costs for the latest offence, as well as compensation of £34 to Asda, as the perfume was not recovered.

DJ Cousins said: “The saddest thing is that as a result of your behaviour you have lost your good name.”

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