Serial South Tyneside thief avoids jail despite taking more than £1,100 of stock from supermarkets

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
He targeted six national retailers over two months, making off with high-cost meat products in seven of his eight raids and detergent in the other.

A lawless South Tyneside shoplifter with a taste for meat has been allowed to keep his liberty – despite pinching more than £1,100 of stock.

But Michael Wright, 35, was warned by a judge his freedom will be temporary if he fails to take immediate steps to mend his ways.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wright, of Laygate, South Shields, was let loose from a court on condition he works with the Probation Service on his rehabilitation.

Granting him bail, District Judge Zoe Passfield warned him he will be locked up if he fails to engage or commits a single further offence.

He targeted six national retailers over two months, making off with high-cost meat products in seven of his eight raids and detergent in the other.

Wright was also caught driving a stolen car while banned and without insurance – and was found with hard drug cocaine when searched.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In separate incidents, he committed an act of harassment without violence and caused £450 of damage to a door at the Marsden Inn, South Shields.

The offender carried out his first theft on Thursday, April 4, taking £200 of meat items from Aldi in South Shields.

He struck twice the next day at the same outlet, swiping batches of meat valued at £200 and £140.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson revealed Wright then nicked £40 of meat from Sainsbury’s in Stanhope Road, South Shields, on Wednesday, April 24.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And exactly three weeks later, he pinched £300 of meat from Asda in Coronation Street, central South Shields.

The next day, prolific Wright made off with £100 of meat from a South Shields branch of Tesco, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

On Wednesday, May 29, he took £55 of detergent products from a Co-op store in South Shields.

He rounded off his spree with a £92 meat theft from Asda’s Boldon Colliery branch on Tuesday, June 4.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wright committed his driving and drug offences on Thursday, December 21, and the harassment on New Year’s Eve, when he also committed an act of criminal damage.

He committed a second criminal damage when he smashed the Marsden Inn door on Tuesday, January 2, and failed to surrender to custody on Friday, May 24.

Wright pleaded guilty to five counts of theft from a shop and was found guilty at trial of three others, and admitted all driving matters.

He also admitted two counts of criminal damage and one each of possession of drugs, causing harassment without violence and failing to surrender to custody.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Probation Service recommended to the court Wright be assessed for his suitability to undergo mental health and drug treatment.

Alastair Naismith, defending, told Judge Passfield she could commit a “leap of faith” and free Wright to be assessed in community.

Mr Naismith said Wright’s offending had been “a spree because of his drug use” and insisted he was willing to reform.

Judge Passfield freed Wright to be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, June 26, on condition he cooperates with Probation and attends all its appointments.