A MAN with a criminal record which stretches back more than 40 years was jailed when he appeared before Harrogate magistrates on Tuesday accused of a 116th theft offence.
Terence Stott, 55, pleaded guilty to stealing nine boxes of aftershave worth £246.71 from Debenham’s in Parliament Street, Harrogate, on March 17.
The court heard the offence, committed in association with another man, put Stott, of Valley Drive, Harrogate, in breach of a community order with a drug treatment requirement which he had been handed on January 16 and of a suspended prison sentence imposed on February 29.
Magistrates were told Stott, who had originally denied the Debenham’s crime, had a record littered with dishonesty offences which dated back to 1971.
In mitigation Clive Farndon said Stott – who appeared in court via a video link with a prison where he had been on remand for 16 days – had reflected on his latest theft while in his cell and had determined to change his plea, a move for which he deserved some sentencing credit.
Mr Farndon said Stott accepted he had played a part in the offence, but wanted the court to be aware of the fact that he had not been alone at the time.
‘‘He has told me on more than one occasion that when he is at liberty he feels he is targeted to a certain extent by other people to steal,’’ said Mr Farndon. ‘‘It would appear he succumbs to pressure from others. He says he often feels very isolated when he is in the community.’’
When he was released from custody Stott would be unable to return to his Harrogate address and would need to find fresh accommodation. He was considering moving from the area to Portsmouth where at one time he had been through a rehabilitation programme and where he hoped something similar might be available to him.
Court duty probation officer Jane Cox told presiding magistrate Marion Simon the service felt the suspended sentence should be activated. Stott had shown by a failure to keep appointments that he was unwilling to comply with the terms of court orders.
Mrs Simon told Stott he had flagrantly disobeyed all court orders. She revoked the 12-month community order with its probation supervision and drug treatment requirements and jailed him for four weeks for the latest theft offence with a further 16 weeks in custody for breaking the terms of the suspended sentence.