Perfume thief escapes being scent to jail despite 176 previous crimes

A thief returned to the scene of the crime twice in one day to help himself to £150 worth of perfume.

Debenhams in Sunderland
Debenhams in Sunderland

Michael Fox, 40, walked into Debenhams, in The Bridges, on January 20, to steal a bottle of fragrance to sell on, Sunderland magistrates heard.

After experiencing initial success, he returned later in the day only to be caught in the act trying to steal two more bottles and making off with a total haul of £150.

Michael Fox

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “This is an incident dating back to January 20 this year.

“Mr Fox made his way to the same Debenhams store twice in one day – first stealing a bottle of perfume on its own.

“Returning the same day, he was captured on CCTV selecting two bottles of perfume and leaving. He finds himself being detained by police.”

He told officers: “I shoplifted three bottles of perfume because I have no money.”

Michael Fox

Mr Poppett said: “He said he placed the items in a bag and that he planned to sell them.

“He appeared to be sorry.

“The first bottle of perfume was not recovered.”

Fox, of Australia Grove, Brockley Whins, South Shields, admitted theft.

He has 176 previous offences, including 80 thefts, on his record, the court heard.

Susan Gray, defending, said: “Mr Fox is a 40-year-old man. He’s single and throughout his life he has struggled. In the past there was a drink problem.

“He served a prison sentence in 2015 and came out in the early part of 2016.

“He isn’t in breach of post-sentence supervision, he’s re-offended while he hasn’t had money.”

Fox was sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge and was told to pay £48 compensation and £20 surcharge.