A 30 year old drug addict who stole more than £1,400 worth of goods to fund his addiction was sentenced to prison at Harrogate Magistrates Court today (December 8).
Craig Hughes, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft totalling £1,477 from shops in both Harrogate and Knaresborough in the space of just over three weeks.
Hughes began his shoplifting spree on November 16 when CCTV caught him stealing £510 worth of items from a Boots store after staff noticed items were missing from the shelves.
He then followed this up four days later by stealing more than £550 worth of goods before being caught on CCTV again on November 27 at St James Retail Park, Knaresborough where he stole items totalling £85.99.
Hughes was finally caught when he stole £320 worth of goods on Tuesday December 6 and told police that he was heroin and crack cocaine addict.
Prosecuting solicitor, Jane Chadwick said: "Mr Hughes describes himself as being drugged out of his mind half the time and didn't know what he was doing.
"Police asked if he had sold the items and he said he probably would have done."
Another count of obstructing or resisting a constable in duty was withdrawn from the court proceedings after Hughes initially gave the wrong name to officers following his arrest, but later revealed his true identity.
Defence solicitor, Mr Craig Sutcliffe described Hughes' demise as "a desperately sad situation" and explained that giving the arresting officers a false name had been "a moments stupidity".
and that "he gave his correct identity to the police before he got to the station".
Mr Sutcliffe said: "During the course of the interview with police, he had CCTV played to him the from the offence prior to his arrest on December 6, two days ago.
"The CCTV in fairness to the defendant was not clear in terms of identifying him but he confirmed that the person shown was himself."
Mr Sutcliffe also explained the offences brought before the court were a result of Hughes' drug addiction, where the people he had bought drugs from were never satisfied with the amount of debt he paid off.
He said: "Mr Hughes has the record of a man who has suffered the ill effects of drug addiction.
"Mr Hughes over a period of time has ended up in a position where those that have sold him the drugs have pursued him and he seems to have been particularly unfortunate with the people that he has sought to buy drugs from.
"He has been living rough and trying to sustain himself and his habit and that is why these offences come before you."
Mr Sutcliffe told the court it would be unrealistic for him to suggest a drug rehabilitation programme and that Hughes understood the impact that would have on his sentence.
Hughes was told that only a custodial sentence was appropriate as the offences were so serious but he would only serve four months in prison rather than six as a result of his co-operation.
He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.