Hi-vis shoplifter stole over £2,000 of booze in two-week spree

Crown Court

Crown Court

A shoplifter who stole over £2,000 worth of alcohol while wearing high visibility clothing during a two week spree has walked free from court.

Dylan Barnes took vodka, gin and brandy from Asda and Sainsburys stores in Sunderland without paying for it between November 3 and November 17 last year.

He also helped himself to over £100 worth of meat from Aldi during that time.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 34-year-old travelled to the stores by car, despite being banned from driving, and took what he wanted before leaving through the shop fire exit.

He bizarrely put on high visibility clothing each time he decided to steal.

Prosecutor Neil Jones told the court: "What we are dealing with in this case is shop thefts from large stores, Asda and Sainsburys, all of alcohol.

"He would dress up in a high vis vest and he would use a fire exit to get away.

"He would be caught on CCTV each time.

"There are 11 separate shop thefts with a total value of goods stolen of £2,282, all of alcohol, save for one of the thefts which was meat.

"All the rest were vodka, gin, brandy, expensive alcohol.

"The losers in each case was Adsa or Sainsburys and in the case of the meat, Aldi."

Barnes, of Ravensworth Street, Sunderland, who has 194 previous convictions, admitted theft and driving while disqualified.

He was convicted after a trial of handling a stolen Mazda motor and having a bladed article which was found in the car.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced Barnes to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements and a three month night time curfew.

The judge said: "You went in wearing a high vis jacket, committed the thefts, used a fire escape to get away any were caught on CCTV."

Christopher Morrison, defending, said: " The particular theme which runs through the offending is an outstanding drug debt."

Mr Morrison said Barnes has stabilised his drug problem during the six months he has spent in custody on remand an he has suffered a family tragedy.

Mr Morrison said Barnes is "no longer in the pocket of a drug dealer".