Thief to spend Christmas behind bars after targeting South Shields Wilko store three times in six days

A thief will spend Christmas behind bars after targeting a South Shields store three times in six days.

James Bingham, 45, stole £410 worth of upmarket gift sets and pricey wash bags during his spree at Wilko’s Market Place outlet.

The heroin user, of Woodbine Street, was handed a 20-week prison term for his repeat offences against the high street retailer.

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He struck first on Friday, December 2, stealing Bayliss & Harding sets totalling £90, the borough’s magistrates’ court heard.

James Bingham.

And he returned the next day and made off with his biggest haul – 12 other same brand items, with a total value of £216.

Bingham went back again on Wednesday, December 7, and fled with six L'Oréal wash bags, collectively priced at £104.

But prosecutor Paul Anderson said the offender was caught on security camera each time, with police confirming his identity, leading to his arrest.

District Judge Zoe Passfield jailed Bingham for 10 weeks concurrently for each theft and activated a 10-week suspended prison term, to run consecutively.

Mr Anderson said: “The offences are straightforward. They all take place at the same premises.

“He just loads up a bag with a number of gift sets and exits the store without paying.

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“They were all caught on CCTV. Police officers came and viewed the CCTV, and they identified him.

“Police located him at his brother’s house, he was in there, he was hiding.

“He exercised his right and was silent during interview. None of the items were recovered, so there is a compensation issue.”

Bingham pleaded guilty to three counts of shop theft.

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On Monday, October 31, he was given a suspended sentence after appearing at the same court to plead guilty to six charges of theft and one each of assault and going equipped.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “Mr Bingham is realistic about what will happen to him today.

“It’s a shame. He has a long-standing problem with heroin. There were three years where that was controlled.

“Unfortunately, this year, he’s relapsed into heroin. He accepts that he’s gone off the rails following the breakdown of a relationship.”

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Judge Passfield ordered Bingham, who owes the courts almost £4,000 in past fines and costs, to pay Wilko £410 compensation.

There were no court costs.