Hartlepool thief with 80 offences on his record stole suitcase from student heading home on train
A serial thief from Hartlepool was snared stealing a suitcase which belonged to a Chinese student heading home on a train, a court heard.
Unemployed Paul Power’s own solicitor admitted he had become undone at the hands of in-depth police detection.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Power, of Vollum Rise, lifted the black case while owner Lei Shen-Liu was travelling from Throckley to Newcastle on Monday, June 24.
The court heard a good police investigation, backed by CCTV, identified Power, 39, as the culprit of the £1,000 crime.
The court was told his criminal record stretches across 33 convictions – including 20 for theft – from 80 offences.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “Mr Liu is a Chinese student. He left his luggage on the train and when he gets off, the luggage is gone.
“He reports it at the station and from footage at Sunderland, Mr Power is seen getting off with the luggage belonging to Mr Liu.
“He is then seen later at Sunderland, travelling back home in a change of clothes. He is arrested a couple of days later.
“The item is retrieved, and it is still locked. He said that he shouldn’t have done it.”
Dave Smith, defending, said Power, who was in breach of an existing six-month conditional discharge, had made attempts to change his criminal behaviour in recent years.
He added: “There’s a notable difference between people who enter a guilty plea because it’s advisable and people who enter a guilty plea because it’s the right thing to do.
“Even before he’s arrested at the police station, he makes a significant statement that he shouldn’t have done this, it was weighing on his mind.
“He’s got to a stage in life where it’s unusual for him to attend court buildings. He’s got back to a position that he was in last year rather than 10 years ago.
“He took the suitcase on the spur of the moment. Perhaps it was old habits die hard.
“The suitcase has not been opened. I must say there was some very thorough policing.”
Power, who pleaded guilty to theft, had his case adjourned until Wednesday, January 15, at the same court.