Caught with £1,400 of stolen goods at bus stop

A GRANDFATHER caught with over £1,400 worth of stolen goods as he waited for a bus home to Bradford was told by a court that at his age he should know better than to be still committing crime.

Harrogate magistrates heard on Thursday, November 24 how Christopher Fox, 52, had travelled with another man - who had run off when police confronted the pair – from his home in Tudor Court, Swarland Grove, West Bowling, Bradford, to indulge in a shoplifting spree.

Prosecutor Sam Rogers said six shops in Harrogate had been targeted on the afternoon of Saturday, October 1, two in Parliament Street and others in Oxford Street, Cambridge Crescent, Cheltenham Parade and Station Parade.

The thieves’ haul had included jumpers, remote-controlled cars, shirts, figurines, a Play Station 3 and a Nintendo DS3. In total they had stolen goods worth £1,428.45.

Miss Rogers said police had been alerted by staff at one of the Parliament Street shops and had gone to the bus station where they arrested Fox, who fitted the description officers had been given of one of the two culprits.

Fox had been with another man at the time and they had a number of bags on the floor beside them. The other man had run off and had not been traced.

Miss Rogers said footage from CCTV cameras had shown the two men in the six shops and with bags which appeared to be getting fuller as they crossed the town centre.

When Fox pleaded guilty to six counts of theft his solicitor Ruth John said he had agreed to travel to Harrogate to assist a friend commit a spate of shoplifting offences.

Miss John said with ‘‘an incredibly lengthy record’’ going back to the early 70s, including house burglaries which had brought lengthy prison sentences, Fox had to concede his liberty was again at risk.

He had stupidly agreed to play his role in the enterprise when at his age and having recently become a grandfather he should know better than to make such mistakes.

When Miss john said Fox had not been prepared to name his accomplice, court chairman John Metcalfe commented: ‘‘What a shame.’’

And banning Fox from entering Harrogate until he returns to be sentenced on December 15 Mr Metcalfe told him: ‘‘You came to Harrogate on a shoplifting spree and you got caught. At your age you should know better. You are a grandfather and still doing crime.’’

He said a probation report would help the court decide whether or not to impose a jail sentence and added: ‘‘It is going to be difficult to actually find a sentence which is going to hurt. You have done them all.’’