Missing prisoner stole computer parts in bid to build new life

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TWO men - one a prisoner who went AWOL - stole computer parts to fund a new life, a court heard.

Paul O’Toole and Lee Shrubsoul came to the North East to make a fresh start, despite Shrubsoul absconding from a prison work placement.

The homeless pair targeted Maplins, stealing from stores in the Metrocentre and Sunderland.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard they were caught after O’Toole, 33, took two computer hard drives, worth £100, from the shop in Market Square on October 8. O’Toole pleaded guilty to theft, while Shrubsoul admitted receiving stolen goods and remaining at large from prison. Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said staff in Sunderland were tipped off about a theft by the Gateshead branch and shown CCTV.

Susan Grey, representing O’Toole, said he met Shrubsoul by chance and became homeless after his mother died and he began using drugs.

Gerry Armstrong, representing Shrubsoul, said the 25-year-old, who was serving a sentence for robbery in Kingston, became disillusioned after being told there was no job following a training scheme and was estranged from his family.

District Judge Roger Elsey sentence O’Toole and Shrubsoul to serve eight weeks and 20 weeks in prison respectively.