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Shoplifter has 100 previous convictions....and counting

30-year heroin habit drives offending, court hears

John Garvey


01635 886628


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.

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Article comments

  • Hammerthebookie

    09/01/2017 - 16:04

    Often people say to me "Crime does pay" & i agree with them . This is just one example from thousands & thousands each day in our court system ....


  • Ihavenonickname

    09/01/2017 - 13:01

    Forced cold turkey in a boot camp type institution is ghetto only way to break a 30 tear addiction and is sadly lacking in our judicial system.


  • NewburyLad

    09/01/2017 - 11:11

    Soft liberal-left justice - the gift that keeps giving, every time....


  • NewburyDenizen

    09/01/2017 - 10:10

    Perhaps decriminalisation and support for this individual would result in less crime? Oh wait, that's far too much like a good idea for the gov. Control, tax, regulate and rehabilitate using the money from taxation of recreational drugs to help those with genuine problems with harder drugs. You'd find that once the gangs are out of the equation, drug prices would be a lot lower than they are now, and if proper support were offered to those with addiction instead of being branded a criminal and outcast from society because of it, we'd have less problems overall.


    • NoisyNortherner

      09/01/2017 - 12:12

      Seconded. Treatment wins out over punitive punishment in the long run. It's about time the stigma of drug addiction was addressed properly, with rehabilitationfor those who need it. Clearly 30 years of being punished for shoplifting in various guises hasn't worked on this bloke. Address the root of the problem and it's likely the problem will go away.


      • NewburyDenizen

        09/01/2017 - 12:12

        Glad to hear there is at least one other reader of this site with a sensible head on their shoulders. The "war on drugs" has only pushed billions of pounds into the hands of criminals and wasted tax payer money on prosecution and incarceration of those that are either enjoying drugs recreationally, or have an addiction. We allow alcohol and tobacco, both drugs, and we treat their addiction without criminal repercussions, why not the rest? At least with taxation, our money would be going to the criminals we elect.


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