A SHOPLIFTER with 100 previous convictions notched up another three when he appeared before Reading magistrates.
A 30-year heroin habit is driving Stuart Langworthy North’s offending, the court heard on Thursday, December 22.
Maddy Charlesworth, prosecuting, said the 54-year-old, of Mandarin Drive, Newbury, got away with a haul of meat from Tesco in London Road, Newbury.
But when he returned and stole again, a security officer gave chase – and caught him.
Mr North also stole meat from Marks and Spencer in Pinchington Lane, Newbury, the court heard.
He admitted three offences of theft committed on November 12, November 16 and November 21.
Magistrates were told of Mr North’s previous record, in which shoplifting accounts for most of the offences.
Mike Davis, defending, said: “I’ve known him for 30 years – and he’s had a problem with drugs for as long as I’ve known him. These latest offences were committed because his drug habit had got out of control and his benefits were suspended.
“They say he missed a medical appointment, but he maintains he had no notice of it in the first place.”
He added: “You’ll notice that all the offences involve meat. That’s because meat is easy to sell on. He sells it for money with which to buy drugs.”
Mr Davis said his client had previously been homeless, but now had a stable address.
In addition, the court heard, his benefits had been restored, thus removing the need to steal, suggested Mr Davis.
Magistrates made Mr North subject to an 18-month conditional discharge.
In addition, they ordered Mr North to pay a victim services surcharge of £20.
Magistrates were unable to order Mr North to pay compensation to Tesco for the meat he got away with because the value of it was unknown.
No order was made for costs because of Mr North’s lack of means.