Ferrero Rocher thief jailed for 15 weeks

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley.

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A serial shoplifter has been jailed for 15 weeks after admitting a spate of offences to fuel his drug habit.

Ben Steward, 34, already has 47 convictions for 82 offences to his name, Norwich Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Two-thirds of those offences, 56, were for theft, and he admitted another nine offences of shoplifting carried out between the summer of 2018 and January of this year.

They were committed in McColls, Tesco and Co-Op stores around Norwich for mainly low-cost products.

Tess Mann, prosecuting, outlined each offence to the court.

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'The defendant was recorded on CCTV on December 3 at the McColls store on Colman Road. He took £32 worth of Ferrero Rocher chocolates,' she said.

'The other matters occurred between July 21 and January of this year.

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'On July 27 he went to the Tesco Express on Dereham Road, asked to use the toilet and when he left he selected grocery items worth £63.90.

'On December 18 he went to the Co-Op on Middletons Lane and took a leg of lamb which was placed inside his jacket. The next day, on December 19 he went to the same Co-Op and took food items and left without payment.

'On 20 December at Lloyds Pharmacy he stole £140 worth of perfume. On December 23 at the Co-Op on Dereham Road he took some meat items concealed under his coat.

'On Christmas Eve at the Co-Op on Middletons Lane he stole chocolates and sweets with no payment made.

'On January 1 at the Tesco on Plumstead Road he took items priced at £12 without making any payment.

'On January 7 the defendant was seen by police at the Co-Op on Lovelace Road. He was searched, which revealed a packet of chicken breast tucked under his trouser line and a further four concealed in his rucksack.

'He has 47 convictions for 82 offences, and 56 of those are theft related.'

Simon Nicholls, mitigating for Steward, asked the court to 'take a risk' on him and order drug rehabilitation.

'Until he cracks the drugs problem it will be a revolving door in and out of prison for him,' he said.

'He has got children out there in society and he has got his own flat. He knows he is too old for this.'

Magistrates refused to order a drug rehabilitation programme for Steward after hearing from probation he has not engaged with support services in the past.

Steward, of Godric Place, was jailed for 15 weeks for each offence, to run concurrently, and a victim surcharge of £115.

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